Dixon High School senior Payton Jeffers signed to play college softball for Salem State University in Massachusetts on April 19, her 18th birthday, at an in-home signing ceremony and celebration.

“I’m very, very excited,” Jeffers said of the opportunity. “The group of girls that I am going to be playing with are awesome ... Knowing that I am going to get to play a sport I love for four more years is just a dream come true.”

Playing volleyball and basketball in addition to softball, Jeffers said, helped her pursue college softball by maintaining a passion for the sport. As a kid, Jeffers played in the MCCS Youth Sports leagues on base, where she met Dixon senior Madison Orona in 2010.

“Our relationship is very important to me, because she has always been like my best friend in sports and outside of sports,” Orona said. “We’ve always had classes together and we’ve always played sports together, since we were in elementary school.”

Orona plans to attend Anderson University in South Carolina this fall when Jeffers heads north to try and help Salem State back to its first NCAA Division III Tournament since 2012.