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Seneca Valley softball ace Lexie Hames named inaugural Butler Eagle Girls Athlete of the Year

Teams could bypass Lexie Hames when she was in the batter’s box. They had no such reprieve while her right arm was lurking in the pitching circle.

The Seneca Valley softball junior sent opponents back to the dugout via strikeout 265 times in 112 ⅓ innings this season, more than two strikeouts per frame.

Despite being intentionally walked often, Hames launched nine home runs at the plate, collected 27 RBIs and batted .426.

Her efforts earned her 2023-24 Gatorade Pennsylvania Softball Player of the Year honors, and she was recently selected unanimously as the inaugural Butler Eagle’s Female Athlete of the Year, as selected by the Eagle sports staff.

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Seneca Valley senior pitcher Lexie Hames is the inaugural Butler Eagle Girls Athlete of the Year after dominating in the circle and at the plate this spring. Eagle file photo

Lexie’s ability aided the Raiders in winning the WPIAL Class 6A title for the second time in three years and reaching the state quarterfinals.

“I trust my defense fully, and with Anna (Kalkowski) back there catching, it helped me take risks,” Lexie said. “This was one of the funnest seasons I’ve been a part of. The team really came together, and it’s special to be part of such a family culture. I know that helped me play up to my ability.”

Lexie, who has verbally committed to play at Clemson University, is able to throw seven pitches with confidence — fastball, change-up, drop curve, offspeed drop curve, rise ball, two-seam fastball and drop ball, though she did not make use of most of them for much of the season.

“I threw my rise ball 90% of the time,” she said. “I didn’t start throwing it until the playoffs my freshman year, but I’ve really developed it. I’m proud that teams see it so much and I’m still able to consistently get outs with it.

“I never count a batter out and am very pitch-by-pitch oriented. I’m very aggressive and am always in attack mode.”

Lexie is currently in Oklahoma City practicing with the U.S.A. U18 National Team. The squad will hold a number of scrimmages over the next three weeks before competing in the Women’s Softball World Cup in Dallas next month. She emerged from a pair of tryouts to make the team.

Lexie Hames struck out more than two batters per inning this season, leading Seneca Valley to a second WPIAL title in three years. Eagle file photo
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In a recent scrimmage against college all-stars, Lexie struck out six, walked none and allowed no runs in four innings.

“It’s crazy to see how much I’ve grown as a player,” she said.

“She’s increased her speed over the last few years, but more importantly, she has more movement on her pitches,” said SV coach and Lexie’s mother, Marlesse Hames. “Lexie puts in so much hard work and sacrifices a lot to improve, but a pitcher has to have her defense working for her. Lexie’s accomplishments are really team accomplishments because her teammates have been a big part of her success.”

Also considered for the Butler Eagle honor were Moniteau’s Catherine Kelly, Knoch’s Karlee Buterbaugh, Emily Greb and Lindsey Greb and Butler’s Ana Malovich.

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