Madison Harris was going to State Fair anyway.
After nearly 400 career strikeouts, a 2.43 ERA and a .600-plus batting average in her softball career at La Monte High School, she was prepared to attend SFCC with A+ credit and end her athletic career at graduation.
That is, until the Roadrunners announced a softball program in December.
“When I found out that they were getting a softball program, I thought it was a pretty good opportunity to extend my softball career,” Harris said. “So I figured, why not?”
With kindergarteners also practicing graduation in the La Monte gym Friday, about 20 teammates and supporters watched Harris sign a Letter of Intent to play softball at State Fair Community College.
Harris admitted Friday’s event was a little awkward, but said she’s excited to know softball doesn’t have to end quite yet. La Monte softball is currently competing in the Class 1 sectional state tournament, which is single-elimination.
“If they hadn’t have gotten a softball program, I would have been very upset,” Harris said. “Especially where (La Monte is) at right now, it’s kind of sad to know it could be over just like that, at any moment. It makes me feel better that I have at least one more year of softball to play, and hopefully one or two more years.”
La Monte head coach Dabecka Kirk was thrilled for her ace to find a college close to home.
“She’s the first kid I’ve had sign and actually stay in the area,” Kirk said. “I actually get to see her play. I’m excited about that. She’s going to do great things. I’m excited for her.”
Harris represents a population of student-athletes State Fair athletics is targeting to supplement their newly installed programs: local high schoolers with A+ credit who may not have played collegiate sports otherwise. With marginal scouting at Kaysinger Conference-level softball and limited play in competitive leagues, Harris said SFCC was the best route to continue pitching.
“I do travel ball, but we only did like three or four tournaments over the summer, so I didn’t get that much exposure,” Harris said. “I knew towards the end of the year I wouldn’t be going anywhere for softball. So, with State Fair, and having A+, I knew that it would be the smartest option to go there.”
Harris is the likely starter for La Monte in the state sectional tournament Monday at Sweet Springs. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2