If there was a scholarship for being modest about your sporting achievements, Madison Hope’s name would be among the first on the list.
The Grade 12 Dakota Collegiate student, who turns 18 on June 18, recently received two more accolades to add her already-impressive career as a pitcher.
Hope picked up the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association Home Run Sports Urban Athlete of the Week award for her performances for the Dakota Lancers fastpitch team this season, which recently held a round-robin tournament for several schools.
At the tournament, Hope — who maintains an 85 per cent grade point average — threw two no-hitters and struck out 16 of the 25 hitters she faced. Officials say she had a .667 batting average at the plate, with a 1.333 slugging percentage and an on base percentage of .714.
"It feels good," Hope said, noting it was the school’s first year with a fastpitch team. "I’ve never really been recognized for high school sports, so it’s cool be recognized before I graduate."
When she does graduate, Hope will head to the Midwest to begin a four-year, full scholarship at Loyola University Chicago to play softball for the Loyola Ramblers. The Ramblers are a Division 1 team that plays in the Missouri Valley Conference. Her orientation is on Mon., Aug. 18.
"It’s becoming more real now, as I picked my courses this week. It’s coming up fast, but I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it," Hope said.
The five-foot-10 pitcher also made the all-star team at the recent provincial championships, which were held in Altona, Man. on May 30 and 31 and featured 12 teams which competed for the provincial crown. While Dakota didn’t win the tournament — the Neepawa Tigers were the eventual victors — Hope said it feels good to be named an all-star.
And when not playing for her high school team, the River Park South resident also puts on the glove for Manitoba Thunder at ‘A’ Level, after previously turning out for the Smitty’s Terminators for the past few seasons.
Speaking to The Lance days before leaving for a weekend tournament in Minneapolis with the Thunder, Hope said she was looking forward to connecting with her soon-to-be head coach in Chicago, Missy Beseres, who she first met at a camp in Duluth when she was 15.
"It’s a complete coincidence. She’ll be in Minneapolis at the same time because she’s getting married, so hopefully she’ll be able to come and watch a few of my games at the weekend. She also hasn’t met my mom and my sister yet, so it’s great that it’s worked out by chance."
In terms of Hope’s imminent departure, her mom, Janice, said it’s a silver lining that Chicago isn’t a million miles away.
"We’re going to miss having her here, but we’re lucky that it’s within driving distance on a long weekend," Janice said.
"And now she’s going to have to learn how to do laundry," added her dad, Dwayne, with a laugh.