After setting two single season records and five career records for the Pilot Grove Lady Tigers softball team, senior Melanie Wolfe is ready to write a new chapter to her book after signing a letter of intent at State Fair Community College in Sedalia.
A four year starter for the Lady Tigers, Wolfe said during a signing last week in front of friends and family that she chose State Fair because it’s close to home and they have a really good nursing program.
“Their nursing program is talked about a lot and is ranked very high so I think it is best for me,” Wolfe said.
State Fair Community College Assistant Softball Coach Michele Rupard said they were looking for bats in their lineup, which is always a good thing, and Wolfe definitely fit that attribute to how good of a bat she has.
“Having a good quality catcher that knows the game is also a good thing to have so that’s another reason,” Rupard said. “Right now the catcher position is kind of open. If she comes in and she is the best catcher that we have, she will catch. If she has a really good bat and she is not the best catcher we will find somewhere else for her to play. I know my head coach was really high on Mel and how well she hits and has a good field presence.”
Pilot Grove softball coach Neal Bailey said Mel is a very talented player obviously.
“I think she can contribute immediately in their program,” Bailey said. “She is one of the best players that I have ever had. She can play any position and play it well. She can hit and holds about every record here hitting. It’s good to see her go on and continue playing.”
A two-time all-state selection along with being a four-time all-conference, all-district and all-region selection, Wolfe definitely proved that she was among the state’s best after hitting .468 with 36 hits in 77 at bats with 14 singles, nine doubles, 13 home runs, 46 RBIs and 26 runs scored. She also finished 2-2 in the circle with an ERA of 2.00 while giving up six runs (four earned) on 12 hits and one walk in 14 innings pitched.
For her career, Wolfe finished with a .455 average with 147 hits in 323 at bats with 76 singles, 42 doubles, eight triples, 21 home runs, 129 RBIs, 93 runs scored and 32 walks. She also had an on-base percentage of .509 and a slugging percentage of .830.
Wherever Wolfe lands for the Lady Roadrunners, Bailey said it really depends on their needs whether its at catcher, third base or outfield.
“I know she picked it up quickly at catcher but like I said she is a talented girl and could probably play multiple positions,” Bailey. “She understands the game and that helped from being in the position in the circle before that. She understands the game so right away as far as communication, somebody covering the bases or pitcher or whatever, she already had a pretty good understanding of that. She picked it up really quickly. That’s where she wanted to play, too. She wanted to take control behind the plate.”
As far as her hitting, Bailey said Wolfe is what you call a loose swinger. “She sees it and she just let’s it go,” Bailey said. “I think that has a lot to do with it. She just has the ability to see the ball and hit the ball. She just takes good swings. She doesn’t get too tight or too tense up there. She is also strong. She was the type of hitter that she would at least put the ball in play. Whatever the situation was you at least expected her to put the ball in play a lot of times for a hit.”
Wolfe said there is still room for improvement, though.
“I feel like I need to improve on being consistent with my zone on hitting,” Wolfe said.
As far as her records, Wolfe leaves with two single records for most home runs with 13 and most RBIs with 46, and five career records with most hits with 147, most doubles with 42, most home runs with 21, most RBIs with 129 and best career average at .455.
In addition to State Fair CC, Wolfe said she was also looking at Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, North Central Missouri College in Trenton and Central Methodist University in Fayette.
Wolfe said she got in touch with the head coach at SFCC and she was very welcoming.
“It started out as a text,” Wolfe said. “I went for a visit at the campus and we talked about softball and I really liked the environment. The head coach watched me play at a couple of tournaments for travel ball which was a good place to watch me play with more competition.”
As far as her short term goals at SFCC, Wolfe said she wants to experience college ball. She said she was debating on whether or not to play while doing nursing but her goal is to manage both. Wolfe said she also hopes to make more friends within ball playing and college.
As for her long term goals, she said she wants to make a family out of the team and to possibly set some new record if possible.
Wolfe said wherever they need her, that’s where she will play.
“We have not yet talked about positions but I am able to play anywhere they need me,” Wolfe said. “I have played every position in the field so I am comfortable playing anywhere they need me.”
As for the highlight of her career, Wolfe said it was probably hitting a home run in the quarterfinal game at state in 2017. As a team, she said the highlight would have been going to state and playing for the championship.
Playing in the championship game against Canton was also the biggest game of Wolfe’s career.  Wolfe said Pilot Grove softball had never played in the state championship so she was glad that she could be a part of that adventure with a really great group of girls.
“All my life I have seen other people play in college and never thought I would be one of them,” Wolfe said. “I grew up playing travel ball and figured out that I am pretty decent so I thought that playing in college would be pretty fun but I didn’t know if I could balance it with nursing. Now that I’ve signed it just doesn’t feel real.”
Wolfe also credits her parents for sticking by her and allowing her to play a sport she loves.
“My dad always pushed me to play at the next level because he saw a lot in what I could do,” Wolfe said. “Playing in college means a lot to him. The last few months I was telling him I wasn’t playing ball but at Christmas I told him I was and he was pretty emotional. As much time as we have spent on travel ball it is too much to give up on now.”
Wolfe said her mother has also been the biggest influence on her playing softball.
“She was an amazing softball player and she taught me everything I will ever know about softball,” Wolfe said. “My mom got me into softball when I was very young and it has been my life ever since and I wouldn’t be the same without it.”
After a stellar career as a member of the Pilot Grove Lady Tigers softball team, Wolfe is ready to leave her mark on the State Fair Community College softball program for the next two years.