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MATTOON — For Rylee Phillips, the goal has been to play softball at the next level. After a strong season of summer ball, Phillips drew interest from a few schools. But one place continued to stand out above the rest.

After making a visit to Olney Central College, she knew that was the right fit for her. It also helped that Mattoon Cobras teammates, Danae Sowers and Liberty Dunaway (who both play for Cumberland High School) also committed to OCC.

On Friday at Mattoon High School, Phillips officially signed to play for OCC and coach Nick Short next season.

"I am super excited and kind of nervous," Phillips said. "When I went on my visit, it felt like home. I knew that was where I wanted to go. It helps that Danae and Liberty are going, but it's going to be fun making new relationships with new girls and new people that will be on the team."

Phillips was also considering Illinois College and Blackburn but those two didn't feel like home like Olney Central did. Plus Phillips, who played catcher and outfield for Mattoon High School and the Cobras, developed a good connection with coach Short.

"I felt way more comfortable there and I would have way more opportunities there than at the other schools," Phillips said. "Coach Short is really cool. We just clicked when we had our visit."

Short is excited to be adding Phillips to his program next year.

"It's really good to add her. We expect her to come in and compete right away and help us get better and fight for positions," Short said. "She comes from a good high school program and a good travel program. I expect her to do the same for us."

Short said Phillips' competitiveness sold him on her.

"That's one of the big reasons. We need kids that can come in and compete. I know that she's been well coached at the high school and travel level," Short said. "She's been pushed at those levels. It makes sense for that to continue with us."

Phillips feels like she can be an asset to the team.

"Obviously I will be an asset, but I am not going to take it away from any of the other girls. We are all going to be equal," Phillips said. "I will help keep my teammates up and be positive. This is a dream come true. I am just super excited to start the season now."

Contact Justin Rust at (217) 238-6856. Follow him on Twitter: @JustinRust

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