Hailey pitch

Louisa-Muscatine junior Hailey Sanders winds up for a pitch against Muscatine earlier this season. Sanders was among the top strikeout pitchers in the state with 283. 

Sanders officially a Panther

Louisa-Muscatine star softball player Hailey Sanders officially announced she will be heading to the University of Northern Iowa following her career as a Falcon.

The L-M senior recorded 283 strikeouts pitching last season, a mark that was tied for 10th most in the state, regardless of class. Heading into her senior season, she has a total of 596 strikeouts in a Falcon uniform.

"I knew I wanted to go to UNI the minute I stepped on campus," Sanders said. "It felt right, the girls and coaches were so welcoming and I loved that. I'm very excited to get on campus and start playing with the girls."

But the Falcons will get their ace back for one more season before she becomes a Panther.

"She probably one of the hardest-working kids I've ever coached," said Falcon head softball coach Bryan Butler. "It's been a great pleasure to coach her. ... She really stepped up and owned that No. 1 pitcher position.

"I expect great things from her next year, and when she gets to UNI, she's going to have so much potential to help their program out."

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