Patton dominates on and off the field

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Lyndsey Patton is a key cog for Safety Net’s 11-12-year-old fastpitch softball team, but that’s not what impresses those close to her.

She has a full plate and appears to balance it nicely. Her passion is softball, and her hero is former U.S. Olympic pitcher Jenny Finch. But she knows where her priorities lay.

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“She makes straight A’s in school, and she graduated from the sixth grade this year with an A average, and she got to graduate with honors,” said her mother, Rene Patton. “She’s active in the community and in her church. I think that’s an accomplishment for a child to play on a travel team, play city league and to go to pitching and practice, and still maintain her grades.”

However, it is difficult to overlook her considerable talents.

Consider this: Over the course of 19 games, she has hit 7 grand slams, 9 homeruns, 3 triples and 4 doubles-stats that would make Chipper Jones envious.

“She’s a very good athlete. She hits home runs almost every game, at least once if not twice,” said Patton’s coach, Sheila Hatfield. “She’s a very good shortstop, and a very awesome hitter. She’s a true team leader.”

When she’s not playing shortstop, she pitches. And while she is not the staff’s ace, she may have more potential at pitcher than any other position.

She wants to play softball at the high school and college levels, and eagerly accepted her father’s suggestion to begin training with a pitching coach.

“I have definitely noticed an improvement in my game,” said Patton.

“I think everyone needs practice, and I wanted it by someone who has experience.”

Her father, Lyne, has noticed her improvement as well.

“She was pitching in the mid 30s, and is now pitching in the low 50s,” said Patton.

As her pitching has improved, attention has continued to mount. Last year she played with Clanton-based Freedom Fast Pitch. This year, she will be trying out for the Prattville Thunder, a traveling team that invited her due to word of mouth.

“She’s so young, and she’s so strong that it’s hard for her to control the ball all the time,” said Hatfield. “She doesn’t know what to do with all that power.”