Like a hitter down in the count, Denison senior Monica Eslick made adjustments.

Like a hitter down in the count, Denison senior Monica Eslick made adjustments.

The third baseman found a potential landing spot early in her recruiting process at Tennessee Tech and she was looking forward to playing for the Division I program.

"It was kind of bittersweet for me," Eslick said. "It gave me the motivation to find somewhere else."

A coaching change during the past off-season forced a change in her focus and she believes she found the right fit as Eslick signed her letter of intent to play softball for Vernon Junior College on Friday morning.

She chose the Chaparrals over interest from several junior colleges, including Weatherford.

"I went and visited the campus a couple times. Ever since then I knew that’s where I wanted to go," Eslick said. "None of them really hit home like Vernon did."

Eslick has been a three-year starter at third base for the Lady Yellow Jackets heading into her final season next month.

"I want to have a good senior season but progress and get better to show they made the right choice," Eslick said.

She helped lead Denison to the playoffs in 2012 for the first time in six seasons and last year the Lady Jackets were 17-12-2 and tied for fifth in the 13-4A standings, one spot out of the postseason.

With practice for her final season underway, there is one collective goal.

"I think we’ll have a really good season. I’m pushing for playoffs," she said. "Playoffs would be an awesome way to end my career."

As a junior Eslick hit .350 with a team-leading 29 RBI and tied for second in runs with 26. During her sophomore year she hit two home runs, drove in 19 runs and scored 19.

Eslick was a second-team all-district selection as a sophomore and earned honorable mention status last season.

The Chaparrals look to keep her at third and Eslick sees an opportunity to jump into the lineup right away.

"I think I’m going to be able to play," she said. "There’s an older girl at my position so I may not play right away but once I prove myself I should be fine."

Vernon, which is a member of the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference, went 10-29 last season and finished sixth in the NTJCAC standings. The Chaparrals were 21-23 in 2012 and 24-21 the year prior to that.

"The program I think will be good in the future and I want to help lay that foundation," Eslick said. "They were good in the past and I want to help get them back to that."