COLLINSVILLE, Miss. (WTOK) Lexie Smith grew up around the ballpark, so it was only natural she chose softball as her sport to pursue.
“I started playing when I was five years old," Smith said. "My dad and my dad’s sister both played in college so he’s always pushed me to play softball.”
By the time Smith hit middle school, she could already keep up with the older girls which earned her a spot as a starter in seventh grade.
“She started as a seventh grader for West Lauderdale. She started behind the plate and to be a seventh grader starting as a catcher that’s a pretty big deal," Head softball coach Austin Buchanan said. "It doesn’t matter what sport. She’s been special since she’s been here.”
Smith was the Lady Knights starting catcher but became a pitcher her eighth grade season when the team needed one.
“I pitched every game my eighth grade year and we actually made it to the MHSAA State Championship and that was one of my best memories," Smith recalled. "I remember we were playing at Kosciusko my eighth grade year for the North State Championship and we beat them in extra innings so that was probably one of my best memories.”
Smith always dreamed of playing softball at the collegiate level. After being approached by a coach from Southern Miss in seventh grade, she had her sights on one day set on suiting up for the Lady Eagles.
"My seventh grade year we were playing in Brandon and an assistant Southern Miss coach was there. He saw me playing and he talked to my coach about me," Smith said. "Ever since then I really only showed interest in Southern Miss. I started going to camps there and then they offered me my ninth grade year."
Smith officially signed her National Letter of Intent back in November alongside fellow West Lauderdale classmates. While first year head coach Austin Buchanan is bummed he won’t have Smith on his team next season, he is looking forward to watching her play at the next level.
“I hate to see her go. I wish we had more years with her for sure," Coach Buchana said. "But I’m really excited for her and excited to see what she does at Southern.”
Smith knows she can't play softball forever but even after she stops competing, she plans to still stay close to the game.
“Being a high school softball coach is really weighing on me. I want to give back to the game that has given me so much," Smith shared. "I love helping others girls improve on their skills in the game that they love.”