By Brent Huelsmann
Another NCHS athlete will play at the next level. This past week, senior Joey Lane signed to play softball at Missouri Baptist University after high school. Lane plays softball, and is an NCHS cheerleader. Lane plays outfield for the Hornettes. Lane also plays for the Southern Illinois Dirt Dawgs.
Lane said she chose Missouri Baptist University because, “ I went to visit them, and I really love their campus. It is very small. All of the coaches were very welcoming. We sat down and talked, and I just knew they were a good fit for me and the campus was just purpose.”
Lane is part of a talented group of seniors for the NCHS softball team this season. Lane joins Brooke Burcham (Kaskaskia College), and Mackenzie McFeron (University of Evansville) in signing to play softball at the next level. When asked about signing with a college early, Lane said, “It’s a big relief because honestly I can just get focused, find the goal for this year, senior season, and accomplish it and not have to worry about it.”
Lane believes her biggest adjustment will be moving, but mentioned that playing with a new set of girls will take some getting used to. “Just getting to know the new girls and playing because I have been playing with the same girls for the past eight years, but I’m really ready for it.”
As for on the field, Fred Mooney coach of the Southern Illinois Dirt Dawgs, said Lane will have to work at the physical aspects. “I think going to the next level, the physical aspects of it. You never stop working of course. The work has to be done. She is going to have to develop more speed, and the speed is her biggest factor, working on that, working on running speed. Other than that, the glove has been very consistent, the bat too”
Hornettes coach Shaun Renth praised Lane on and off the field when asked the player that Missouri Baptist is getting. “Just a real good kid, a real solid kid, thinks of others first. Does a lot off the field for other people. She works at the food kitchen and things like that. Just a great kid, great teammate. She will do whatever we need her to do. Just whatever you need her to do on the team to succeed she’s going to do and not ask any questions.”
Mooney echoed the same sentiments. “She brings a lot to the table. She’s got a very consistent bat. Stays around a .350 batting average or better. That’s a plus going into any program. The biggest asset is that she is just a team player. You need to warm up a pitcher, she’s there to help. The team unity and bonding with her cheerleading background and everything. She brings a family atmosphere to a team, she does to my team anyway.”
As for her senior season, Lane has high expectations. “I think we are going to be pretty good. We’ve got eight seniors we’re starting. I’m excited for the year. We’ve got eight seniors and that’s a lot but I think we all know what we have the capability of. After watching our freshmen year with that senior class, I think we’re all really want it just the same.”
Last season, Lane played in 20 games for the Hornettes. Lane finished with a .455 batting average, and scored three runs for the Hornettes.
While at NCHS, Lane said she has a lot of memories, but one tops them all. “Winning State. I don’t think anything will top it. Seeing the faces of especially the senior class is one of the best things I’ll ever experience in softball for sure.”
Lane says she expects to study something in the medical field at Missouri Baptist University.
The Missouri Baptist University Spartans play in the American Midwest Conference.