Once Lexie Chadwell hit a growth spurt and found a first baseman’s mitt, her whole career changed. Motlow is happy it did.
Chadwell has worked her way into the Lady Buck lineup as a freshman, reprising her role has a defense-first role player whose attitude is infectious. The former Lady Pioneer has appeared in 12 games as Motlow has started 11-10.
Just like she did for the Lady Pioneers, Chadwell makes her mark with her glove.
“I love playing first base. I feel involved in just about every play,” said Chadwell. “I couldn’t imagine playing anywhere else. When you scoop a ball or jump and catch a high throw or are on the end of a double play, it’s like you’re a hero. Everyone just gets so pumped up on those plays.”
Chadwell has been happy to let her glove do the talking for the last few years. During her final two years as a Lady Pioneer, when she was part of a regular-season and tournament championship, Chadwell only had 45 at-bats.
She watched from the dugout with delight as her teammates built leads, ones her glove would help preserve.
Since joining Motlow, Chadwell hasn’t reshaped her game. She’s leaned further into her skill set.
Chadwell is just 1-for-12 at the plate for the Lady Bucks. Any struggles with her swing haven’t affected her fielding (only one error in 59 chances). When the problems at the plate persist, she turns to her teammates again.
“If I get in a slump, I ask coach to put someone in for me to give the team a better chance. I want to do whatever is going to help us win,” said Chadwell.
The 5-foot-11 freshman looks like a natural at first base. Blessed with quick hands and go-go gadget limbs that help her stretch to all angles, Chadwell can snag even the most errant of throws. The footwork and positioning all seem second nature, like she has been doing it since birth.
It’s staggering to find out she only picked up the position three years ago.
“I didn’t start playing first base until my sophomore year in high school. I hit my growth spurt – I played third and pitched until then,” said Chadwell, who credits WCHS coach Gooby Martin for molding her into a defensive stalwart.
As much as Chadwell loves putting on her mitt and going to work, finding kindred spirits in the softball world has been just as fun. Putting on the Lady Buck uniform gave Chadwell a new family and they’ve embraced their towering new teammate.
“It’s great. I’m getting to travel to places I’ve never been and spending a lot of time with my teammates,” said Chadwell. “They make practice, games and our road trips a blast.”
Chadwell seems to have caught the softball bug from the Lady Bucks. It’s not a shock – there are few things she can’t catch.