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Yes, Michigan, right away, Michigan

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Sports photo 2

 

Photo by Jeff Vorva

Lexi Voss, posing in front of the charging horse inside Stagg High School, has already made a verbal commitment to Michigan even though she is a freshman and hasn’t played an inning of high school softball yet.

By Jeff Vorva

Sports Editor

Palos Park’s Lexi Voss has it all figured out.

She will attend the University of Michigan on a softball scholarship and major in kinesiology.

Now that she has that out of the way, she can turn to more immediate matters…such as finishing the rest of her three years and eight months at Stagg High School.

Before she takes her first swing of the bat in a high school game or plays her first varsity inning, the freshman already verbally accepted an offer from a program that finished second in the nation in softball in the spring. She won’t be able to officially sign until her senior year, but right now there is a spot waiting for her in 2019-2020.

Thanks to Voss’s play with the Beverly Bandits travel team and getting invited to elite camps, Michigan saw the right-handed outfielder.  Coaches made her an offer during a Sept. 21 visit to the Ann Arbor campus, which included taking in Michigan’s 28-7 football victory over UNLV.  It didn’t take long for her to make her decision.

“I called them that Monday to take the offer,” she said. “I was astonished to be offered by Michigan. I knew that I had a chance to play college softball somewhere. I just didn’t know what level I would be playing at. As I got older, I knew I wanted to go to a Division I college, but I never expected Michigan.’’

Now comes the hard part.

Every time she makes an error or doesn’t reach base, there will be some whispers and pointing from the stands. That’s the girl going to Michigan? Really?

Voss said she knows that is a part of the deal and accepts it.

“I know there is going to be stuff said but I don’t take that seriously,” she said. “I am just going to go out and work hard and if I make an error I’ll just shake it off. I don’t care what anyone else has to say.’’

Voss said she is one of 32 softball players from the class of 2019 that she is aware of who committed to a Division I college.

She was coached on the Bandits last year by Ramsey Harkness and Laura Harms and Harkness has concerns about players who sign this early but thinks all will turn out well in Voss’s case.

“There are so many things that can happen in four years,” Harkness said. “It’s a gamble for some players. There is nothing binding from either side. But Michigan liked Alexis’s size and hitting ability and she’s such a well-grounded kid that I think this will work out well.  Just the other day, I called her about her decision and she was out working on her game. She is dedicated.’’

Voss comes from an athletic family. Her father, Keith, played football at Chicago Christian while her mother, Becky was a cheerleader at Oak Lawn High School.

Lexi got into the sport five years ago when her friend Allison Van Nieuwenhuyse coaxed her to try it out. After a few years with rec ball and travel ball, Voss joined the Bandits two years ago and “that’s when everything blew up,” she said.

On the field, her ultimate goal is to play softball beyond college – possibly the Olympics. Off the field, her ultimate goal is to become a neurosurgeon.

For now, she is going to try to enjoy her next four years at Stagg and with the Bandits.

“I love this sport so much and I really like the challenge of hitting,” she said. “I love stepping into the box and eyeing the pitcher. I love that feeling.’’