After a stellar career as a member of the Boonville Lady Pirates softball team, senior Madison Lester knew immediately where she wanted to play for the next-four years.
Although it would be a short drive, Lester said she chose Central Methodist University in Fayette for the wonderful small campus atmosphere, as well as the great faculty and staff, including the coaching staff.
“I felt very comfortable with the school and all of the wonderful things it has to offer,” Lester said. “I also liked that it was close to home and it offered what I have chosen to major in.”
With friends and coaches on hand during the signing last Friday in the media center at Boonville High School, Lester said she owes everything to her parents because they continually supported her and pushed her to do the best that she can.
“They started my love for the sport,” Lester said. “They put in the extra time and support to help me achieve all that I have whether it be driving me to practices and games during a traveling league, to taking me to the field and just helping me practice. They have been a major part of all that I do.”
Boonville softball coach Christie Zoeller said Lester really stepped up this year and became a great leader for the team.
“She was new to our school and program last year and did a great job for us then,” Zoeller said. “This year she started out the season well and then really started to make her presence known toward the end of the season. She was our leader in the outfield and packed a lot of pop from the left side of the plate. A lot of teams expected her to be a slapper from the left side but I think she surprised a lot of them with the way she could swing the bat.”
Zoeller said the girls will also never forget a district game for a lot of reasons this year. Along with having four rain delays and then going back the next day to finish the last part of the inning, Zoeller said Madison will never forget it because she went 4-for-4 and when Odessa had bases loaded with one out, she caught a pop fly and then threw a runner out at home to shut them down.
“She is just an all-around great player and more importantly she is a great person,” Zoeller said. “She was a great team leader and someone for the younger girls to look up to.”
Lester also improved two-fold from her junior season to her senior year. While hitting .214 with 12 hits in 56 at-bats in 2011, Lester came back even stronger her senior year to hit .413 with 23 hits in 63 at-bats with 23 singles, two doubles, one triple and 10 RBIs.
As for her best game, Lester said it would probably have to be the last game of her high school career. Even though the outcome was not what she had hoped, Lester said going 4-for-4 with no errors and turning a double play to get the team out of the last inning of a two-day game in districts was probably the highlight of her career.
Central Methodist softball coach Pat Reardon said if Lester decides to get healthy and works at it, she could be a .300 plus hitter and help out in the outfield.
“Madison’s has had some shoulder issues and I don’t think she has been 100 percent healthy,” Reardon said. “She is also left-handed and those are all things that we look from a different point of view. From what I saw in practice and talking to Christie, she will work hard. She is kind of like Emily (Gerhardt). If she goes up there and works hard and gets stronger, there might be a role for her down the road. Being a local kid also helps because that is somebody that Christie coached so I have sort of an idea of what we are getting and I always want to bring good character kids into the program, too. Madison is also fairly good academically, which is something we really stress there, too.”
Lester said since her softball career is not overall, she cannot say for sure what the highlight as an individual or team has been. But what she has enjoyed in her softball career is the opportunity to travel and play with a variety of teams and meeting a vast number of people that have the same passion and drive that she does.
Lester said there is always room for improvement, though. She said no matter what level you play there is always room to improve from betting to fielding, running the bases or encouraging your teammates. “However, as I do plan to play at the next level I need to improve at all aspects of the game whether it be mental or physical,” Lester said. “My short-term goals, which are 1-2 years, would be to finish high school and get acclimated to college and playing collegiate softball. As for my long-term goals, which are 3-4 years, they would be to graduate from college, have a successful softball career and get a job in my career field of choice.”
While playing mostly center field and right in high school, Lester has also picked up several accolades along the way such as second-team all-district, NCMC all-academic two years, varsity letter four years, Pirate Pride Award, National Honor Society, FFA officer, student council representative, academic letter all four years and Principal’s Honor Roll.
Whether it’s roaming the outfield or putting down a bunt, you can bet Lester will give it her all as a member of the Lady Eagles softball team.