Ariel Thompson started playing softball at Sequoyah in the fourth grade.
Once she reached high school, the dual threat pitcher and hitter experienced many twists and turns in those four seasons.
The Eagles won just five games in her freshman year of 2015. They improved to 12 victories in 2016 before really making some noise in her final two seasons.
Sequoyah finished 27-16 in 2017 and 24-9 in 2018, falling in regional title contests and one game shy of the state tournament on each occasion.
"We had a lot of ups and downs throughout the years but I wouldn’t trade the team for anything," Thompson said. "You can’t trade family. We never made it to state like we hoped and dreamed we would but the journey that we took is what matters more."
Thompson will play for another set of Eagles at the next level at North Texas University. She plans to continue being both a pitcher and a hitter.
"My time at Sequoyah has shown me that I can do anything," Thompson said. "It has made me stronger as not only an athlete but a person as a whole. It has taught me to push others and maintain a positive attitude while doing so. I have every expectation of participating in both sides of the game when I have the opportunity (at North Texas)."
Thompson had one final time to shine amongst her high school peers in the Oklahoma Fast-Pitch Coaches Association All-State Games on Saturday at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond.
The East won 6-3 in the Middle Schools game. Thompson got the decision as the winning pitcher. She struck out eight in three scoreless innings while surrendering just one hit and one walk.
"I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be able to play and to share it with all these other amazing athletes," Thompson said. "Playing with the girls that I have played against gave me a different perspective on the game. The reason is because it gave me the chance to get to know each one as a person instead of just another competitor."
Thompson was a deserving All-State selection as a pitcher thanks to a stellar senior campaign that saw her finish with a record of 14-6 and an ERA of 1.01.
Thompson struck out 271 batters and walked just 36 in 131.3 innings, had nine shutouts, three no-hitters, and one perfect game.
Thompson was not limited to her pitching accolades though. She had a batting average of .446, hit ten homers, drove in 41 runs, and scored 40 more.
Thompson's on-base and slugging percentages were .542 and .812, respectively. She had 16 doubles, two triples, stole 12 bases, and struck out only six times.
"We grew each season thanks to a group of determined girls and loving coaches who never gave up on us," Thompson said. "Tears fell when the final second ran out on the clock but I couldn’t be more proud and thankful that I had the opportunity to be a Lady Eagle. I am thankful for all the support and guidance from both of my parents. I am also thankful for anyone and everyone who has crossed my path and helped me grow as a young athlete, Christian, student, daughter, sister, and friend."
Sequoyah head softball coach Brandon Green had very high praise for the mark Thompson left on the program.
"Ariel Thompson was a very gifted player over the last four years," Green said. "She had the capabilities to win games by herself (both) pitching and offensively. She is the type of player you hate to see leave, but we wish her the best of luck in her collegiate career."