King headed to UMBC to continue her academic and softball career

Practice after practice. Game after game. Season after season. Softball never stopped for Morristown East’s Blayne King.

And it won’t stop anytime soon.

King signed her National Letter of Intent Wednesday morning to continue her academics and softball career with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Now, there are at least four more seasons guaranteed for King’s softball journey to keep going.

“This has been a long time coming,” King said. “I am thankful for this opportunity … I have spent a lot of time working on my game. I have always had amazing coaches and support around me to help me achieve this goal.

“I think UMBC was the best fit for me all-around. The softball program, and for what I want to study in college, it felt like the best option.”

When asked what made the dream possible, she immediately commented with “my parents,” and they were there, along with many others, to support King on her big day.

“It was very important for me to have my parents with me here today,” she said. “My parents have made this goal possible by supporting me every step of the way. They have poured a lot of time into my softball career. It was great having everyone here.”

King only spent one season with the Lady ‘Canes after transferring from The King’s Academy, where she won a TSSAA Division-A State Championship in 2019.

Although she spent only one season with East, the program has shaped her to have success on and off the field.

“East High has always had my back since the day I transferred here,” King said. “Having that kind of support system meant a lot to me. It helped build me as a player and a person. I know that I feel prepared for the next level because of this program here at East.”

Her days at TKA and her travel ball teams have played a major role as well, she mentioned.

“I have played for some amazing coaches through my years,” she said. “They have all helped me prepare for the collegiate level. I cannot thank my coaches, my parents and everyone else involved enough for preparing for this moment. There have been some long days but it has been worth it.”

King racked up some impressive batting numbers while at East her senior season. She finished the 2021 season with a batting average of .477, knocked five home runs and strung together 34 RBI’s.

She also finished the year with an on-base percentage of .538 and a slugging percentage of .784 for a 1.323 OPS.

East’s head softball coach Heather Martin was glad to have a player like her on her squad this past season.

“It is always special to see one of your players sign to the next level,” Martin said. “I have watched her grow this year. She was one of our top offensive players on the season and that is what UMBC is getting. She has a wealth of knowledge. I was lucky to have her this last year.”

King also helped lead the Lady ‘Canes to a District 2-AAA tournament championship over Jefferson County while finishing the year with an overall record of 22-9.

She was also named to the All-District team and All-District tournament team in 2021.

King was known as a threat at the plate to opposing teams but said it was not just her hitting that helped her stand out—it was her knowledge of the game.

“I spend a lot of time around the game of softball,” King said. “I know that’s a big part of it but I feel like I have shown to have a good approach in the game. My thing in softball is hitting and I found that out at an early age and focused on it to become the best I could be.”

Before entering the collegiate level, though, she knows she needs to improve in some aspects of softball to compete with the DI pitchers she will face at-bat.

“I do need to improve a lot on the mental game when it comes to hitting,” King said. “I know there will be some tough competition ahead of me when I get there so that’s one thing I am going to really work on.”

King will be a designated hitter for UMBC and will major in political science.