A day Rakes has long been looking forward to became a reality on Tuesday when she placed her signature on her national letter of intent to play for Three Rivers Community College with friends, family, teammates and coaches in attendance.

Camdenton senior Fayth Rakes will be back on a softball field next season.

A day Rakes has long been looking forward to became a reality on Tuesday when she placed her signature on her national letter of intent to play for Three Rivers Community College with friends, family, teammates and coaches in attendance.

“I’ve been working for this for as long as I can remember, putting in countless hours just trying to get to this moment. Now that it is actually here, it is unbelievable and I’m so excited it is with Three Rivers,” Rakes said of the school in Poplar Bluff, Mo.

And while she was willing to put in the work, she also took some time to acknowledge the village around her that supported her every step of the way.

“It took a lot of hard work and a lot of help from a lot of other people,” the senior noted. “My family and my countless teammates and friends I’ve had, just to get this opportunity is amazing.”

But Rakes’ accolades speak for themselves and her presence on the diamond did not go unnoticed either.

As a four-year starting catcher for the Lakers, she was part of two Ozark Conference championship teams and three district championship teams. Along the way, she earned All-Ozark Conference and All-District honors three years in a row, All-Region twice and Academic All-State honors as well. Just this past summer, she was named Tournament MVP of the USSSA Midwest National Championship after her Missouri Stealth travel team captured the 18A title in Overland Park, Kan.

“Fayth has been playing at a high level for us the last four years. Everything she does from the beginning to the end of a game is methodical,” Camdenton coach Tyler Dinsdale said. “Whenever you watch her, it does not look like she is extending that much effort just because she is so good at what she does.

“It is fun, easy and calming. I don’t have to worry about anything back there so that is the beauty of having her back there.”

It was obviously a fun journey for Rakes as well with plenty of highlights and memories to cherish whether it was winning district titles, hitting a walkoff home run like she did in 2017 that was immediately followed by a celebrating dog pile or just having the opportunity to take the field with her sophomore sister Emma each and every night.

“Playing with Camdenton these past four years have been great. I made so many friendships that will never go away and making history was great,” she said. “This program is just amazing.”

Dinsdale said he will miss her calming demeanor, defensive play and attitude when the Lakers return to the diamond next fall, but he is hoping freshman catcher Adelyn Enos was paying attention to the way Rakes carried herself each night.

“I told her at the beginning of the year that she was probably not going to play much varsity, but her job was to watch everything she does and do it exactly the way that she does,” Dinsdale stated. “She (Rakes) was real good about helping her out… and I have a lot of faith in what we got coming up. It was a good year for everybody.”

Someone else who was paying close attention was Three Rivers coach Jeff Null who noted that the catcher first popped up on his radar during the Sullivan Tournament in her sophomore season.

“Her command behind the plate was excellent. She had a cannon for an arm, a good simple throwing motion and at the plate she was obviously strong and had some pop,” Null said of his eventual recruit. “The arm caught my attention right away and watching her that day, she caught three really good pitchers. Camdenton was loaded that year and she caught them all so she’ll be able to catch at our level and do well at our level.”

Dinsdale expects it to be a pretty smooth transition as well for the catcher and called it a natural progression where there should not be anything Rakes cannot handle.

“They are going to get one of the top defensive players in the state. She also batted .494 so she also has a really high batting average,” the coach remarked. “They are going to get a hard worker, somebody who is not going to slack off and an overall good student and athlete.”

But this is not the first time a Camdenton softball player has joined the ranks at Three Rivers. Kristyn Carpenter, a 2017 graduate, also played for the Raiders and she may have mentioned to Fayth what her experience was like.

“I love the coaching staff and I know a couple of girls who go there. They said it was amazing so I’m excited for the opportunity to play there and play for Coach Null,” Rakes said. “She (Kristyn) had a lot of good things to say so that really helped.”

Null certainly would not mind establishing a pipeline at Camdenton if the softball program continues to produce players like Carpenter or Rakes and the coach said he is looking forward to having Rakes’ bat in the lineup and expects her to compete right away.

“When they come out of this program they are prepared and ready for our level,” the coach said. “We are lucky any time we can get a Camdenton kid… and I am always looking for the next one.

“There is no doubt in my mind she’ll be successful… Kristyn had an outstanding couple of years at Three Rivers and has done big things so I totally expect the same thing out of Fayth.”

After four years as a catcher at Camdenton, Rakes has a pretty good idea of what it will take to be successful in the next chapter of her career, too.

“A good catcher is someone who knows their pitcher really well and what they like to throw, their strikeout pitches and how to make them as comfortable as they can be to calm down and strike people out,” she pointed out.

Rakes is hoping that will translate to plenty of wins next season as well.

“Hopefully we’ll go to nationals again this year like they did last year. That would be great, but I’m just looking to have a really good season and do the best I can,” the senior said.

She also implored the Lakers who take the field next fall to employ a similar kind of attitude.

“I just want them to know that whatever they do to always play great and play as hard as they can,” Rakes said. “If they do that, then good things are going to happen.”

Rakes intends to go into the medical field and study nursing.