Lauren Lewis Clarkdale

Clarkdale infielder Lauren Lewis gets set to toss her bat as she makes her way down the first base line after drawing a walk during the Lady Bulldogs' home game against Forest Wednesday, April 1, 2021.

Clarkdale senior Lauren Lewis is seeing success both on the softball field and in the classroom.

As the Lady Bulldogs’ shortstop, Lewis is batting .423 on the season and is the team’s leader on defense, making sure her teammates know the situation and proper defensive alignments. As a student, Lewis has a 4.3 grade-point average and scored a 32 on the ACT when she took it her junior year.

Lewis was Clarkdale’s recipient for the STAR Student award, a Lauderdale County School District program that recognizes academic and ACT success, and Clarkdale softball coach Grant Hill said he’s not surprised by Lewis’ academic success given how dedicated she is to every little detail with softball.

“She’s everything you ask for in a person and a player,” Hill said. “She’s someone who shows up every day and gives everything she has in whatever she’s doing. She’s also someone who’s very consistent. I never have to push Lauren; she’s very self-driven, and she’s also someone who doesn’t just think about herself. She helps our young players and mentors them and really cares about their success just as much as her own.”

After seeing playing time as a freshman, Lewis has been a three-year starter for the Lady Bulldogs, primarily at shortstop, and she likes the responsibility that comes with playing the most important defensive position on the field.

“I do feel pressure playing short since the majority of balls are hit there, plus there’s stuff like bunt coverages and other decisions, but I enjoy it,” Lewis said.

Hill said Lewis has batted .400 over the past three seasons, and there’s no timidness to her play.

“At the plate, she’s been a consistent hitter for us, and defensively she’s held down shortstop for several years now,” Hill said. “She also communicates very well. She’s vocal; she’s a leader. When she’s out there, she takes charge. Any success we have as a team is because of Lauren Lewis.”

Despite how busy she is with schoolwork and club activities, Lewis said she doesn’t mind the extra workload softball gives her.

“I really enjoy the competition, and the bonds I’ve made with my teammates are important to me,” Lewis said. “A lot of my close friends are people I’ve met through softball.”

Balancing that with her schoolwork is sometimes difficult, especially since Lewis has taken every AP class offered at Clarkdale, requiring many hours of studying after practice or before games. 

“It all comes down to time management, and there’s also a lot of sacrifice,” Lewis said. “I have to sacrifice time with my friends for softball and studying. It gets difficult, but I have to remember it’s worth it, and time management skills will be useful to me later in life.”

Right now, Lewis plans to attend Mississippi State and major in biochemistry, then go to medical school to become a dermatologist.

“Originally I wanted to be a surgeon, but when I get older I want to be able to spend time with my family, and a surgeon’s schedule would be too demanding,” Lewis explained. “Dermatology would allow me to be around my family more.”

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