Golden Falcons' Talton signs with Pitt Community College
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 9, 2007 2:41 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Junior Bailey is on a mission to find -- and sign -- the best softball talent eastern North Carolina has to offer.
The second-year Pitt Community College head coach hasn't done too bad, so far. Before Bailey pulled into the Charles B. Aycock parking lot Thursday morning, he had inked four players from four solid programs -- D.H. Conley, South Lenoir, Wilson Fike and Wilson Beddingfield.
Now, he's got five.
Aycock senior Rusti Talton became the Bulldogs' fifth signee this spring.
"I think she brings a competitiveness that we're looking for; somebody who is dedicated to playing softball," said Bailey. "Any time we can bring a catcher onto our team it helps because a catcher can play almost anywhere. She's going to come in and compete for our catching position, but also with her outfield abilities, she'll do well.
"She's kind of a total-package deal."
Talton searched for a school that met her academic needs. The daughter of Rusty and Tammy Talton of Pikeville, Rusti hopes to become a dental hygienist.
"I'm really excited and ready to move onto the next level; improve my skills," said the soft-spoken Talton. "It's a small school with a good softball program, and I'm trying to go into the medical field. It has the classes I need."
Talton is the fourth player to sign a college scholarship during David West's six-year tenure as Golden Falcon head coach. Jenny Jackson signed with Western Carolina and transferred to Mount Olive College. Ashley Morris is at Pfeiffer University and Brittani Edgerton, the 2006 News-Argus Player of the Year, also signed with PCC.
"I'm glad she gets the chance to play somewhere else when she leaves Aycock," said West. "She's not going there just to play softball. They had what she wanted. For her athletically and academically, it's a very good fit.
"I don't see Rusti not going there and not giving it everything she's got."
Talton has helped lead C.B. Aycock to two consecutive Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference regular-season titles and the 2006 ECC tournament title. She earned all-ECC honors as a sophomore and junior.
C.B. Aycock, which finished 19-9 overall last season, has appeared in two N.C. High School Athletic Association final fours with Talton behind the plate. The Golden Falcons won the 2005 eastern regional championship.
"Consistency is her best asset," said West. "She has a tough job behind the plate and I rely on her to call pitches. She has to hit and the only thing I don't allow her to do is run when she gets on the bases.
"She's a good two-out, two-strike hitter and proved that the other night against D.H. Conley. We're very fortunate to have her consistency defensively and offensively."
Pitt Community College posted a 31-19 record last season and came within one game of advancing to the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament. Talton is looking forward to playing on the next level, but realizes she has many adjustments to make.
Bailey will send Talton a weight-training and running plan when the high school season is completed. She'll be expected to follow that regimen and be prepared for the first day of practice next fall at PCC.
"Every step you take is a different step and nobody has a clue until they start playing (in college) because the speed of the players is amazing and the difference of the game," said Bailey, who spent three seasons at J.H. Rose. "The things you could get away with in high school and travel ball, you can not get away with at this level."
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