For many high school students, the summer between their junior and senior years is a stressful time, as they prepare and decide what to do with their futures.
For Dallas King, it's a similar story. The rising Jay M. Robinson senior juggles a relentless summer schedule of playing showcase softball for the Fort Mill-based Carolina Angels, going to various college softball camps and working out on her own.
"My life is definitely kind of crazy right now," said King, who makes the trip from Concord to South Carolina on a regular basis for practice and games.
King isn't complaining, despite also playing in tournaments throughout the Carolinas nearly every weekend. She enjoys the sport she's grown to love since she began playing when she was 8.
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"If things aren't going great off the field, softball is something I can do to escape from everyday life," she said. "I know it will always be there for me."
After another all-state season on the mound for Robinson this spring during which she went 16-5 with a 1.37 ERA, King went immediately to play for the Carolina Angels.
The Angels, coached by Nations Ford coach Michael Kidd, have a loaded lineup that includes King's Robinson teammate and future Western Carolina player Megan Crowe, among others.
"I really enjoy playing with other girls who want to play college softball," said King, whose Angels won the S.C. Amateur Softball Association championship last summer. "I think it's good to see how other great players prepare and play the game, and compare them to yourself."
When King isn't on the mound, she plays first base, where she not only excels but gets a front-row seat to watch Nations Ford all-state pitcher Bradlee Holeman and see the game from a different perspective.
Kidd says it's also a great opportunity for King to expand her game, which includes a great ability as a batter. He said her batting average for the summer is well over .400.
"Dallas is a very complete player and has been a great addition to this team," said Kidd. "I think her strength on the mound is her control. She has a lot of pitches that she can throw at any time."
King's arsenal includes a curveball, drop ball, rise ball, screwball, changeup and fastball, and she uses each regularly. While her fastball is in the upper 50 mph range, it is her drop ball and rise ball that have become her most devastating pitches.
"Not all of them work all of the time," said King, "so it's nice to have a lot of different pitches to go to. I don't like to be limited."
King's talents and grades have expanded her opportunities on and off the field, as she currently is being recruited by College of Charleston, Winthrop and Western Carolina.
She said Winthrop, where she went to camp in late June, is leading the pack. "It just feels like home," said King, who grew up going to the Eagles' camps.
While most schools love her ability on the diamond, they also like her commitment in the classroom, where she has earned a 4.4 GPA.
"She does everything well," said Robinson softball coach Jim Allen. "I feel like she is just going to get better and better."
Allen and King hope to continue King's success next year as she wraps up her Bulldog career.
While the next several months will decide a lot about her recruiting, she's not focused on that. "I can't really control anything but how I prepare and what I do on and off the field," she said. "To do that, I try not to think about the pressure. I try to think about the one-on-one battle on the field each day."