MIDLOTHIAN – On paper, it is the Southwestern College Moundbuilders. Slowly, it’s becoming the Midlothian softball all-stars.
Seniors Megan Spence and Reagan Luedtke signed their letters of intent to play softball at the Kansas school next season joining former teammates, Brady Luedtke and Devan Howard who signed with the program last season.
“I think it just happened to work out that way and all the better. Us already playing together, knowing each other, I think we’ll do great up there,” Spence said. “I’m a lot less nervous because there’s more of us there. College is a big deal, it’s a new experience and you want to know some people.”
Spence, a pitcher, led the Lady Panthers in wins last season going 9-4 with an ERA of 2.64. She allowed 32 runs, 24 earned, in 63.67 innings of work while striking out 67. Luedtke, her battery mate behind home plate, picked up 16 hits in 59 at-bats for a .271 average with the team’s second leading RBI total at 15.
Both players have gotten off to strong starts this season. Spence picked up three wins to start the season before finally hitting a rough patch against state-ranked Plano East. Luedtke had a 4-for-4 night at the plate with five RBI in a season-opening win over rival Waxahachie. Both are thrilled to get the chance to play college softball, calling the opportunity the culmination of all they’ve worked for.
“It’s what I’ve been working for my whole life ever since I was playing T-ball at 3 years old. It’s just all surreal,” Luedtke said.
During the signing day ceremony, both players cited the school’s size and NAIA success as a big reason they wanted to head up to Winfield to play ball. Of course having some familiar faces is an added bonus.
Brady Luedtke was the starting shortstop for Midlothian last spring while Howard was a reserve outfielder and highly successful base runner. Brady is the older sister to Reagan but there is no sibling rivalry to speak of.
“My sister’s playing up there so it’s going to be awesome to have another four years with her,” Reagan said. “We’ve been playing together all our lives. We just have a bond and we just know how to play with each other and it just makes it all better.”
For first-year varsity head coach Frank Griffin, the signing was a special occurrence. While it might be his first year at the helm of the Midlothian program, Griffin has been an assistant for seven seasons, watching these players come up through the system.
The fact they’re going to join two other former Lady Panthers is something that makes him step back and smile.
“They must be (watching us). That’s crazy. Devan Howard’s up there, Brady, Reagan’s sister, is up there and now Reagan and Megan this year. That’ll be good,” Griffin said.
Each player will have a new role when she joins the Southwestern program. Spence could factor into the team’s rotation immediately while Luedtke has a chance to earn playing time with only one other catcher on the roster. Both players are looking forward to the challenge and the learning.
“I’m excited but kind of nervous because I’ll be a freshman but I think there’s other pitchers there and they’ll help me out,” Spence said.
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