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Distinguished SBCC softball athlete combats spine condition

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Courtesy art of Madison McNamee

Courtesy art of Madison McNamee

Ken Sciallo

Ken Sciallo

Courtesy art of Madison McNamee

JACK DAVIES, CHANNELS STAFF

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Sophomore Madison McNamee is having another great softball season, fighting back injuries throughout her college career that haven’t suppressed her performance.

McNamee was named as athlete of the week and part of the All-Western State Conference Gold first-team in the 2016 season with a 2.98 earned run average and a 17-9 record and was athlete of the week. She pitched 148 innings and 14 complete games.

This season, McNamee averted pitching, throwing 13 innings on the season. She supplanted pitching with hitting, boosting her batting average from .364 last season to .477 and doubled her hit total from the year before.

“Without having to focus so much on pitching this year, I’ve been able to focus a lot more on hitting,” McNamee said. “I’ve worked on my swing a lot.”

Despite having a tremendous 2016 season from the mound, the sophomore from Lompoc, California dealt with spondylolisthesis, a back condition in which one of the vertebrae in the back slides along another vertebra. She has had the condition since her senior year of high school.

“It’s tough. It still hurts a lot,” McNamee said. “It has been a lot easier this season and there has been less stress on my back.”

McNamee’s perseverance has resonated with sophomore teammate Alyssa Richter.

“We could use her in the pitching rotation, but I’m glad she still has the opportunity to play in the field,” Richter said. “It is awesome to see her love of the game show as she fights through the pain.”

McNamee has played a key role the last two seasons for the Vaqueros on the field and has been a great friend and student as well.

“Madison is a bright young student who knows what she wants, sets goals and works hard to achieve them,” said Paula Congleton, softball head. “She is very supportive of her teammates and is always willing to guide them with whatever they need.”

McNamee played volleyball and basketball in high school. Her senior year, she knew she wanted to play softball in college, so she committed to softball. Her parents gave her constant support throughout the way.

“I didn’t like it at first, but as I got older my dad pushed for me to be a pitcher and I really got into that,” she said. “Both of my parents have been a great support system. They come to every game they can.”

With the season coming to a close, McNamee will only play a few more games before she transitions to a life without softball.

“At this point, I am going to stop playing softball,” she said. “Knowing that I only have a few more games is tough because I love the sport and I’ve been playing softball since I was four years old.”

McNamee plans on going to CSU Channel Islands where she will focus on school. She wants to be an elementary school teacher in the future.

Coaches and teammates will miss McNamee. They know that the athlete, teammate, and leader can’t be replaced.

“She is definitely someone I can count on to have my back, whether on the field as a teammate or off the field as a friend,” teammate Monica Salas said.

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Distinguished SBCC softball athlete combats spine condition