ANAMOSA - It was a little over a year ago that Anamosa’s Ellie Tallman gave her verbal commitment to the Minnesota State University softball program.
Friday, Nov. 15, the now Raider senior made it official becoming a Maverick after holding a signing ceremony inside the Anamosa High School library with friends, family, teammates and coaches all in attendance.
“This has been a long time coming, but it sure feels good being able to officially say I am going to play my college softball in Mankato, Minnesota and with the Minnesota State program,” said Tallman, who was flanked by her parents Keith and Debbie Tallman as she put pen to paper at the signing ceremony.
“There were a lot of people over the years who helped me get to this point, but it all starts with my mom and dad. Especially my dad.”
Even at eight-years-old Keith would take Ellie to youth ASA practices, and instead of just dropping off his daughter, would stay and help out if he could.
“He would never just drop me off and leave,” Ellie said. “He always stayed and would help me and the team out in whatever way he could. My dad is a big reason I’m able to play D-II college softball. Another big reason is my sister.”
Ellie’s sister Abbie Scriver is nine years older, and was Ellie’s idol growing up.
“She was a great softball player, and I wanted to be just like her. I had to keep working hard if I wanted to get to the level my sister was, because she was really good. She was a big motivation for me and another reason I’m where I am today.”
The third person Ellie mentioned at her signing ceremony was former Anamosa varsity softball coach Skeeter King, who was Tallman’s first coach with the elite Blue Devil’s ASA softball program.
“Skeeter was my first real coach and pretty much got me started,” Tallman said. “When I was 14 I played on Skeeter’s 18U team. At the time I was terrified, but that experience wound up helping me grow so much as a softball player and a person. I wasn’t sure how the other girls on the team were going to accept this little kid being on their team, but it turned out being a great time and I learned a lot of things it would have taken me years to learn.”
King was also impressed by Tallman’s abilities.
“Me and Gilly (Tallman’s nickname) go way back,” said King, who spoke during Ellie’s signing ceremony.
“I’m pretty sure she was raised to play softball. Her dad taught her well and she started with the Blue Devils at eight-years-old. She was always the fastest one out there. When she started she batted right handed, too. We decided to turn her around so we could take advantage of that speed and she’s turned in to a pretty good lefty. I taught her everything I could and she just soaked it all up pretty quick and always was coming back asking to learn more.
“I knew right then and there that this kid was going to be special. I was right.”
It didn’t take current Anamosa softball coach Brad Holub long to realize what he had with Tallman as well.
“Ellie has a fantastic knowledge of the game and is going to be a great college softball player,” he said. “She’s a natural leader, too, willing to do whatever it takes to win. When she gets to Minnesota State, she’ll be ready to step on the field and compete.”
Making the decision to attend Minnesota State University (MSU) was an easy one for Tallman.
“They were interested from the very start,” she said. “There were quite a few other schools who showed interest in me, but it was more vague. Minnesota State was there from the beginning and when I went up and took a visit last year, that just clinched it. I fell in love with the campus and the program. It was an easy decision.”
Tallman said she hopes to be able to come in and start right away as a freshman, but realizes nothing is given and is ready to work for her spot.
“Minnesota State is a very good D-II softball program, so if I would be very happy if I could get up there and play right away,” Tallman said. “The coaches told me they were recruiting me as a power hitter and middle infielder, but I’ll do whatever it takes to get on the field and help this team win.”
MSU won the D-II College Worlds Series in 2017 and had another really good season last spring too (going 37-19 overall).
Tallman also has some high hopes for her final season wearing blue and white for the Anamosa softball program.
“We lose Jessie Frasher and Alexa Jess, but I still think we can be pretty good again this summer,” she said. “I hope we can make another run at state. We have some players back with a lot of experience and I’m hoping to leave Anamosa next summer with some more amazing memories.”