Patterson Mill High School junior Madison Knight is a force to be reckoned with on the softball diamond.
The 5-11 right-hand pitcher delivers multiple pitches to opposing batters, that includes a fastball that routinely in the mid-60′s.
Last week, Knight, who plays travel ball with the 18U PA Chaos National team, verbally committed to take herself and her fastball to Syracuse University in New York.
“It’s so much better, honestly, the stress is all gone, I can go play now," Knight said. "I mean, I’ve been playing, but…”
Yes, she has been playing, but the decision to pick Syracuse has freed her up and it was a fairly fast decision.
“Syracuse, I went up with my family and we just toured the campus ourselves because it’s a dead period for softball of how they can’t come out and watch. They couldn’t physically get us up there, so I asked my parents if we could go up and see what Syracuse had to offer,” Knight said. “I absolutely loved the campus when I went there, from the coaches and what they told me, they did a very, very, very nice job of explaining to me, what they wanted to do with their program and what they see their program doing the next couple of years and that’s exactly what I wanted.”
Knight says that Syracuse head coach Shannon Doepking wants to make the program so much better, she wants to go out and win an ACC championship. “She has such very high standards for her team and I want someone that’s going to push me to get to where I want to be and from an academic standpoint, they have the major I was looking for so that’s always a plus,” Knight said. Knight plans to study kinesiology.
“What they told me was, we want you for a pitcher but if you want to play another position, you go out and earn it. Which I am all for,” Knight said. “If I have to push myself, stay after practice, I will stay after practice and push myself to earn an infield position when I’m not pitching.”
There was another reason to pick Syracuse as well. “I feel like that is the perfect distance because its five hours away, about,” Knight said. “It’s close enough to home, where if I needed to come home, I could, but it’s not like 30 minutes away. That’s the overall reason, Syracuse.”
The trip was just a few weeks ago.
“Went two weeks ago and it was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful going up there and I got there and I pictured in my head, how would this campus look with four feet of snow?,” Knight said. “I told my mom, weather is weather, everywhere is gonna have snow/rain, there’s no perfect area. You’re gonna have weather no matter where you go.”
There other schools that were seeking Knight’s talents. University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) and Penn State University joined Syracuse as the top three.
UAB was eliminated due to travel distance, while Penn State, although closer to home, was a problem for a different reason. Penn state was too, big a campus. “I saw myself at a smaller campus, Syracuse felt more like home," Knight said.
With the college deciding weight off her shoulders, Knight will still be busy with her PA Chaos team and its fall schedule.
“We’re just having an awesome fall right now, we’re just going out, we’re playing and we just wan’t to get out there and play as much as we can, obviously, right now,” she said..
Knight and teammates were flying out to Arizona Thursday play in the inaugural Arizona Fall Invitational. Five games over three days; Friday-Sunday.
The Chaos is playing a very, very tough schedule, according to Knight. “But I am not going to complain about it, because I want to play the best teams in the country, I want to face the top pitchers in the country, I want to compete,” she said. “If that means I strike out four times, I strike out four times. I want to go and I want to compete and I want to see what I can do personally.”
Upon returning, Knight says there are two more tournaments. One local and the other in Clearwater, Florida. “Awesome tournament, very fun tournament,” Knight said.
At Patterson Mill, Knight has also been a prominent part of the Huskies girls basketball team the past two seasons. “I want to continue to play basketball and I love playing basketball,” she said. “Basketball is what gets me in shape. I play my best in both sports when I play basketball."
Knight has actually played basketball a year longer than softball.
There are many years, days and games ahead for Knight to deal with, but the extended future lies ahead.
Is there a desire to pursue professional softball?
“It all depends on what I feel like is best for me once I get to college. I mean, I can say whatever I want to say now and it can change tomorrow, so, since I’ve been little, it’s like, I want to play college softball and now that I’m committed, I’m going to go play college softball and now it’s I want to play professional softball,” Knight said. “It all depends on what I want to do with my major, how far I want to go with it after college. If I want to play professionally, I obviously will and I’ll try to, but I say that now and it could change tomorrow.”