Lawson signs to pitch for Emporia State
Since the age of 4, Lezley Lawson had been working for this day.
She began at that early stage playing coach-pitch softball. Later, at 7, she started playing for traveling teams.
On Friday at McLouth High, Lawson, now a senior pitcher, took her softball career to another level by signing to play at Emporia State University.
Lawson said the signing wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance of her parents, Donna and Mike, and the knowledge and skills she received by working with her mother and Michelle Harsh, local pitching instructors who she said helped her immensely.
Still, the future Hornet said picking her college destination was tough.
“Everything I worked for for all these years was going into one school and I had to pick the perfect school for the next four years,” Lawson said, “but I think I made the right decision.”
Though she considered going to a larger school, Lawson settled on ESU because it has a strong softball program — the Hornets have played in the NCAA Division II championship game two of the last three years — and an academic program in which she was interested.
“It just seemed like an all-around perfect fit,” she said, adding that she plans to major in mathematics and eventually become an actuary.
Although she has professional goals already in place, Lawson said softball played a role in that.
“It’s helped to develop who I am,” she said, “my work ethic and everything like that.”
Her drive has made her a 4.0 student at McLouth and given her a scholarship opportunity, but Lawson knows she has even more exertion ahead of her if she wants to maintain her success.
“Already in my mind for this winter, I’m telling myself I need to work even harder because next fall I’m going to be playing with some of the best players in the country,” Lawson said, “and playing against some amazing teams, so I need to bring my level up.”
That should help MHS in the process. The Bulldogs are coming off their best season ever, going 22-1 and finishing third in Class 3A. In the introduction to Lawson’s signing, MHS coach Ballard Patterson said, in his opinion, Lawson is the best pitcher in the state and the team hopes her right arm will carry the Bulldogs to a state title in 2009. Lawson said she and Patterson are thinking similarly.
“I just want to play the best that I possibly can,” she said of her senior year, “and try to make sure that all my pitches are working and everything when we go into the season because it would just be the most incredible thing to walk out of my senior year with a state championship.”