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Avon senior looks forward to long-awaited softball season

After missing last season, Avon senior Madi Lockridge will lead the team and play second base. She plans to play softball at DePauw University. (Photo by Dave Gansert)

By Mike Beas

Any first-year softball coach would be thrilled to inherit an experienced second baseman capable of anchoring that team’s defense.

Senior Madi Lockridge fills that role at tradition-rich Avon, a program so far responsible for nine sectional championships, three regionals and the Class 4A state title in 2016.

Lockridge, who bats left-handed, is implemented in the Orioles’ offense as the leadoff, No. 2 or No. 5 hitter. The same work ethic she’s demonstrated throughout her career has proven invaluable, particularly in light of the 2020 season being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Madi has to be the hardest-working player I’ve ever coached,” said Avon coach Harley Skinner, now the head coach after being an assistant the past three seasons. “One of the major things is that Madi doesn’t just show up. She’s very person-first, and if there’s a problem in what she’s doing, she’ll stay until 8 o’clock if she has to to fix it.”

Lockridge carries a 4.4 grade-point average and will attend DePauw University where she plans to play softball and study sports medicine. The Tigers are considered one of the best in Division III, based on their current No. 9 ranking nationally.

Avon, which last played in a 5-1 loss to Terre Haute North in the first round of the 2019 Mooresville Sectional, starts the season March 30 at home against Noblesville.

Lockridge did a Q&A with ICON:

Q: As a second baseman for one of the state’s best softball programs, what are the biggest challenges you face?

A: There definitely is pressure playing because there have been so many great second basemen go through Avon. Herb Chasteen is still one of the assistant coaches, and he reminds me pretty much every practice of the girls who played before me and what they accomplished. Honestly, I’m okay with it because I’ve always looked up to people older than me.

Q: Last year, there were no spring sports because of the pandemic. Does it feel strange knowing you haven’t played a game in two years?

A: It definitely does. It’s a big test to try to step it up and lead these younger classes because they’ve only played (at most) one year of varsity. I’ve been working out a lot and doing conditioning. I really wanted to focus more on the speed side.

Q: Is this season going to be more about team success or just having fun with teammates and coaches?

A: It will be about having fun, but still a balance of both. At the end of the day, I just want to win as much as I can. I definitely think we’ll have a very solid team. We have power and speed throughout the lineup and three pitchers who are really good.

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