One of the strongest hitters in South Texas is continuing her softball career in the next level.

As the summer draws to a close and Kayla Benavides begins her senior year, the San Diego High School softball standout signed a national letter of intent to play softball at Laredo Community College.

Benavides was in Laredo to sign with future teammate Christina Cerda of United South.

"I've been playing my whole life so coming up to the next level to play is real exciting and it's a young program so I'm hoping to bring it up and make the name bigger,” Benavides said after signing.

With teammate Celeste Gonzalez, the Lady Vaqueros had one of the most potent one-two punches in area high school softball.

Benavides, who was among one of the top hitters in South Texas as a sophomore. She had a dip in her numbers as a junior this year, but it’s mostly because opposing teams often opted not to pitch to her and intentionally walk her. She led the district in walks this past season, and twice this season she was intentionally walked with bases loaded.

With Benavides’ help, the Lady Vaqueros were second in their district and reached the Class 3A regional semifinals.