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Patterson Mill’s Mackenzie Knight takes softball talents to Oklahoma as an USA Softball All-American

Mackenzie Knight is a USA Softball All-American.
Mackenzie Knight is a USA Softball All-American. (Courtesy of Jason Knight)

For 13-year old Mackenzie Knight, the game of softball wasn’t much fun just a few years ago.

So much so, she didn’t want to play at an early age and when she did decide to play, three years ago, it was a bit of a rough go.

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Playing as a 10-year old with the Hickory Hornets travel program, Knight had one hit all season as a right-hand hitter. Knight tells her mom, she wants to quit, but not because she didn’t hit, but because dad wasn’t there to watch her play.

Dad, Jason Knight, was busy coaching older daughter Madison Knight, but once he heard Mackenzie’s plea, he stopped coaching Madison and the next season he coached Mackenzie. Madison moved on to the PA Chaos program.

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Knight coached daughter Mackenzie for two seasons and in that time, Mackenzie made a great decision. Taking advantage of her speed, she opted to bat left handed and worked hard to perform the art of slap hitting.

It was at the end of those two seasons, Mackenzie wanted to challenge herself and she too, headed north, to join the Chaos program.

“Her skills have improved tremendously since playing for the Chaos,” Jason Knight said. “Playing better competition each week brought out the best in her.”

Fast forwarding to this 2020, COVID-riddled season, and Mackenzie is a 12U USA Softball All-American. That achievement took her to Oklahoma in August.

“There was a tryout in Maryland and I made the top 40,” Mackenzie said. The tryouts included players from across five states.

Mackenzie mainly plays outfield and some middle infield, but she prefers outfield.

She’s a mainly a slapper, but asked about power, she said, “I’m working on it.”

Mackenzie had never played in Oklahoma City before and for anyone who walks into the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium to play, it’s a super special moment.

“I played only two games in the stadium, but there’s other fields around the stadium that I also played in,” Mackenzie said. “It was a really awesome experience to take in. I led off for my team and I got a hit my first at bat.”

Mackenzie Knight awaits the pitch during at bat in the USA Softball All-American games in Oklahoma.
Mackenzie Knight awaits the pitch during at bat in the USA Softball All-American games in Oklahoma. (Courtesy of Alexander Gabrielse)

Mackenzie and her teammates played four games and went 2-2. “I batted about .300 overall and I led off all of the games,” Mackenzie said. She also played outfield in all four games.

Unlike older sister Madison who also plays basketball, Mackenzie is a softball only athlete.

Asked about what makes softball so appealing, Mackenzie quickly replied, “The unpredictability about the game and how tough it is.”

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COVID, is some ways, made it tougher, but in other ways not so much. “In the dugout we just had to be separated and on the field we are already separated by our positions,” Mackenzie said. “It really didn’t feel like anything different happened.”

There were no high-five’s, however, just elbows.

And even though COVID was forcing cancellations of many youth sports, Mackenzie says she got plenty of action. “My team played about 50 games to prepare me for this,” she said.

Mackenzie has since learned that she’s ranked by Fastpitchnetwork.com as the 65th best player in her 2025 softball class and the 17th best overall utility player in her graduating Class of 2025.

As an added bonus to making the USA Softball All-American team, Mackenzie was treated to a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Unlike Oklahoma, Disney was not a first. Mackenzie says she’s been to Disney before, in fact her ninth trip. Fact, make an All-American team, get treated to time at Walt Disney World.

“When Madison made her first All-American games it was for USSSA and it was held at ESPN zone. So we basically told her that if she made the team we would take them to Disney as a reward,” Jason Knight said. “Well Madison made it four times. Three times for USSSA and once for USA softball. So, since Kenzie made it this year we surprised her with a Disney trip for her efforts.”

Now, back home and playing as a 13-year old, Mackenzie will be making the trips back into Pennsylvania to practice with the Chaos. Tournaments will begin again in September and her team is now a national team.

Mackenzie Knight takes a moment for a picture with the sign, noting that USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, OK. is home to the NCAA Women's College World Series.
Mackenzie Knight takes a moment for a picture with the sign, noting that USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, OK. is home to the NCAA Women's College World Series. (Courtesy of Jason Knight)

Mackenzie does have practice each week in Pennsylvania; however, they probably go to the field or just go hit at a cage four to five days a week. “Both of my girls also go to ASP (Absolute Sports Performance) to workout about three to four days a week,” Jason Knight said.

“People think we are nuts driving to Pennsylvania, four days a week for practice (two for Madison and two for Kenzie), but honestly the rides are what we love the most,” Jason Knight said. “To have that time to just talk and to be together is something I will cherish my whole life.”

Mackenzie is entering the eighth grade at Patterson Mill Middle-High School, while Madison is beginning her junior year there, too.

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