It was just a few weeks ago that the high school softball season for Madison Knight came to a close.
Knight, a freshman, and her Patterson Mill teammates dropped a 1-0 battle to Bo Manor in a section final game. The Eagles, who Patterson Mill played tough all three times, went on to win three more games and a third straight Class 1A state championship.
It was Knight’s first taste at the high school softball level, but nothing compared to the travel softball she has played and what’s still to come.
Knight’s freshman season ended with a .485 batting average (32-66), 24 runs scored and 15 RBIs. She hit eight doubles and two triples.
Knight also pitched to a 6-3 mark, striking out 94 and walking four over 65.2 innings pitched.
In a recent ranking for Class of 2022 players, Knight finds herself at 23rd on the 2022 Extra Elite 100 Rankings.
“It was a really big jump coming from like the high 50s to the low 20s. Just kind of like a big thing for me,” Knight said by phone Monday. “Now I know that the work that I’ve done, for the past like year, has paid off to get to that spot..”
That work is a combination of things. “My dad [Jason Knight] and I will go to the batting cages when it’s raining outside. I got really lucky, my house is like five minutes from a field, I can walk there,” Knight said. “Since I’ve started softball, that’s where I have always gone to field and hit, but when it’s raining, we go indoors and I pitch and I field.”
Knight says the family also took down the pool in the back yard.
“So now, there are all these Bownets up that I can hit or pitch into and in our basement we have Bownets up for pitching. So whenever I want to work on something, I can just go down there or go outside do my own kind of stuff.”
So, what does the ranking really mean to Knight? “It means to me that I know that I can accomplish anything I want to accomplish, if I put my mind to it and I put the work in to do it,” she said. “If I want to go to college to play softball, I know I have the potential to, if I keep working at it and keep working at it, that I can go to college and do what I want. I can get the degree I want at the college I want. It kind of like opened a door for me, to know I can do what I want to do.”
If she doesn’t put then work in, Knight also knows that it’s her fault.
The 5-foot-11 Knight is a shortstop and pitcher both at Patterson Mill and with her club team, the PA Chaos 14U Premier team.
“I like both of them, but in my opinion, I think pitching is more fun,” she said. “And I have put a ton, a lot of work into pitching. My dad was a really big part in starting my softball career. I’m very lucky to have him as my dad.”
From the circle, Knight says she throws a fastball, changeup, curveball, screwball and drop. She is working on the rise. Knight says she’s been clocked at 63, but game speed sits around 60-61 on the radar gun.
Only a freshman, Knight is already thinking about that next phase. “I like some pretty big schools as we speak. I like the University of Kentucky, I like Clemson, Maryland.”
With the extensive travel Knight does with her Chaos team, colleges are aplenty. Knight has already played in Harrisburg and New Jersey the past couple of weekends, with tournaments remaining over the next several weeks.
Knight and teammates will travel to Newtown in Pa.; Annandale, Va.; Raritan, NJ.; Broomfield, Co.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Huntington Beach, Ca.
Weekends not playing from now to Labor Day are far outweighed by those to play for Knight and the Chaos. “There’s not many (not played) and I’m totally fine with that, I love playing,” Knight said. “There‘s never going to be a weekend where I’m like, oh my gosh, I have to play? Those words are never going to come out of my mouth.”
Reach Randy McRoberts on twitter. @aegissports