For Tahlequah softball coach Chris Ray, this year’s group of seniors is special because they were all freshmen when he took over the Lady Tigers program. Included in that special group is senior Lexi Hannah who anchors the middle of the Tahlequah defense at shortstop. “Lexi’s a four-year starter for us and hits in the leadoff spot. She’s fast and handles the bat well so we can bunt or hit-and-run with her and she’s a base stealing threat whenever she gets on,” said Ray. “When she has a good game, we typically score a lot of runs.”
Lexi says her parents got her involved in T-ball when she about three and has played the game ever since. She also recalls a competitive teammate who turned out to be a role model of sorts for her. “When I was a freshman, me and a senior named Shelby Hensley were battling for the starting shortstop position and she inspired me to try my best and to not be complacent once you make it as a starter,” said the senior who is in the National Honor Society with a 4.0 GPA and takes concurrent college classes at nearby Northeastern State.
As the lead off hitter, Lexi understands how that position can set the tone for the game. “When I go up the first time, I always take the first pitch and try to guage the umpire’s strike zone, check out the pitcher’s delivery, what kind of spin she has on the ball and a lot of times I’ll bunt my first time up or at least fake it to see how the first and third basemen react. Once I’ve completed that first time up it’s my job to go back to the dugout and tell the rest of the team what kind of pitches to expect when they’re up.”
Lexi says she was encouraged in middle school at Briggs by her social studies teach Marta Ashlock. “She really helped me and stressed to me about always doing my best and if you make a mistake, make up for it the next time.”
Lexi says she would like to play softball at the next level and has had some discussions with Oklahoma Wesleyan but if that doesn’t happen, she’ll be happy continuing her studies at NSU. “I’d like to be remembered as a leader and someone who inspired others to be leaders,” said Lexi.
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