Jacey Walker was staring straight in the face of her softball mortality, and she didn't like the way it was looking back at her.
Walker decided to prolong her career in the circle, as the Beloit Memorial senior signed her letter of intent to play for Bryant and Stratton College, a NJCAA school in Waukesha.
After helping guide the Purple Knights to within a game of the WIAA Division 1 state tournament last year, Walker and her teammates have unfinished business this spring.
For now though, with a long winter approaching, Walker is content to have her future secured.
"When I was thinking about what to do, I really learned how much I love this game," Walker said. "I've been playing since I was four years old and I knew that If I stopped playing, I was going to regret it. And I also knew that playing college sports gives you a really good foundation because you always have people to go to on your team and they help you stay on top of your academics."
Beloit Memorial coach Jen Pozzani said she's pleased that Walker made the decision to continue.
"Jacey has the talent and the ability to play," Pozzani said. "I was very happy to hear that she's going to continue her career. It'll be a good experience for her. College sports is one of the greatest experiences you can have, and I'm happy she gets to have it."
Pozzani said Walker's ability to pitch through adversity has helped her greatly.
"The thing about Jacey is she never gets rattled," Pozzani said. "You could never tell if she just struck someone out or gave up a home run. She just wants the ball again and is always ready to go."
In her junior season, walker went 13-5 with a sparkling 1.68 ERA, and hurled three no-hitters along the way.
Walker has some personal connections to Bryant and Stratton.
"The head coach (Dean Herman) was the assistant coach for my travel team last year," Walker said. "And I'm really good friends with his daughter, so I've been talking to him about it for a while. One of my teammates from travel is also there now. And when they offered me a full-ride scholarship, that pushed it over the top."
Walker plans to head into the health care field, with nursing being a likely target to at least begin her career.
While her work in the circle has earned her the most accolades, Walker is a terrific student and is also a force in the middle of Pozzani's lineup.
With the majority of her squad back for 2020, Walker said the sky is the limit for this season's team.
"I'm very excited for this spring," Walker said. "I think we're going to have a very good year. Last year we were only one game away from state, and we're going to be really strong again, even though we did lose a few key players."