Southsider Voice correspondent
Morgan Lewis brought high honors to Lutheran High School on the softball field in 2010. Today, after three years at the University of Tennessee at Martin, she is back helping fellow Saints with their game while playing for the University of Indianapolis.
“I’m glad I transferred back to home,” she said. “It was something that was helpful to me.”
Lewis is highly regarded in the Lutheran athletic community for being named 2010 Indiana Miss Softball. A photo of her accepting the award, which is rare for a Class A player to receive, hangs in the entrance of the school’s gym. She was a part of the 2007 state title team, which defended its 2006 championship.
“She’s shown that you can go to a 1 A school and still be recognized for Miss Softball and other major rewards,” Lutheran softball coach Kent Carter said.
As a pitcher for the Saints, Lewis rolled through the competition. Playing larger schools did not bother the Saints as they won the Marion County tournament her senior year.
“Normally, small schools don’t get much recognition, and we’re the only single A school,” Lewis said. “Just like here at UIndy. We’re a small college that people don’t know much about. It’s a good to get recognition for our school.”
But before Lewis made it to UIndy, she tried her skills at Division I UT-Martin, but the experience was not as positive as her high school seasons.
“I wasn’t playing very much,” she said. “I wasn’t in the mindset to play anymore.”
At UT-Martin, Lewis saw a reduction in playing time in each of her three seasons. In her freshman year she pitched in 17 games and had six starts. This contrasts with her junior season with only seven appearances and three starts. Her record was 2-10 in three seasons, a far cry from her 29-2 mark as a senior at Lutheran.
Lewis chose to transfer to UIndy, where she could play right away because the Greyhounds are in D-II. She credits her new teammates for motivating her to recommit to the game.
“They’ve really taken me in as a teammate,” Lewis said. “That’s something that’s made me excited to play again. I had kind of lost my will to play. They’ve helped me get my will to play back.”
UIndy missed the 2013 College World Series by one game, losing in the Super Regional. Just like last season, the Greyhounds have returned to top spot in the Midwest rankings this year.
First, Lewis had to get her confidence back on the mound. UIndy coach Melissa Frost observed that Lewis was being indecisive with her pitches.
“She has taught to know where to go in the pitch count but don’t think too much,” Lewis said. “Because that’s one of my biggest problems is that I think too much.”
Lewis regained her confidence, started 16 games and finished the regular season with a 12-4 record. The Greyhounds finished their with a 42-11 mark after losing 4-0 to Bellarmine on Saturday. Regional play in the NCAA tournament begins Friday.
In addition to playing for UIndy, she has worked with Lutheran players, including pitcher Blakelee Steed.
“I’ve heard from quite a few people on how she has improved,” Carter said on Steed. “Pretty good to get a college player to come back and do that.”
Majoring in sports marketing, Lewis is on track to graduate in 2015. For now, her main focus is leading UIndy back to the series.
“We have a really great team dynamic,” she said. “Hope to continue on that upward slope.”