Getting a college athletic scholarship can sometimes be quite the ordeal. However, for El Campo senior softball player Mackenize Leach, all it took was a bullpen session.
After her final season with the Ladybirds Leach will continue her softball career and play for East Central Community College in Mississippi, signing her national letter of intent in mid-December.
“Growing up, I never thought a college would even want me or that I would be good enough for a college to say we like this about you, we’re going to offer you,” Leach said. “A full ride was never in my mindset. But to have this happen, it’s very eye-opening and it makes me feel like I’ve done something right.”
While Leach had interest from schools, all it took was five minutes between games in a select tournament to change her future. The East Central coach was at the tournament watching a few games looking for some pitching. As luck would have it, during that tournament, Leach wasn’t pitching and instead played in the outfield.
The recruiter for her select team told the coach about Leach. After a game, she asked if Leach would toss a bullpen and work through her pitches.
“I was like ok, this is something different,” Leach said. “I went off to the side and pitched for her and she ended up liking my movement.”
While the coach wasn’t necessarily looking for Leach at that tournament, the command and pitches she showed, earned an offer.
During her visit to the campus, the coach told her that she was looking for someone to be on the mound. With the possibility to start along with the down-home southern family vibe from the coach, she knew East Central was going to be the place for her.
“Something about the coach just made me feel like home and I could come to her with anything and that says a lot honestly,” Leach said. “I’ve never had that click with any other coaches (throughout this process) and in my head, I knew this is the (school for me).”
As a junior, Leach in district pitched off an on. When she did get a chance to throw, she was locked in allowing a .47 ERA in 19 innings of work while striking out 21 and giving up three walks.
East Central will get a player who has command four pitches and is looking to add a fifth to her bag of tricks before she gets on the mound in Mississippi.
With softball getting into gear on the high school level, Leach will be one of El Campo’s few seniors this year.
“It’s my last time finally being with the group that I grew up with, especially Raven (Contreras). We grew up together and this will be my last experience (before leaving),” Leach said.