Shelby Lucas needed a push, and Morgan and Lauren Klosterman were there to provide the muscle.
The Klosterman sisters, who played their high school softball at Jennings County, were not about to see their friend and travel ball teammate, Lucas, pack away her softball cleats following her high school career.
“I was considering not playing anymore,” said Lucas, who graduated in 2013 from Columbus North. “But the twins changed my mind.”
The Klostermans headed to Indiana University Southeast in New Albany to play for second-year head coach Joe Whitten. They convinced Lucas to come with them.
It was a good decision.
Not only did Lucas, a freshman catcher, earn Player of the Year honors from the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, but she was named IU Southeast’s Female Athlete of the Year.
That wasn’t just for softball, but for all sports.
A dinner honoring Lucas will be conducted Aug. 16 at the Plantation Hall at Huber’s Orchard and Winery.
Lucas said she was shocked and very appreciative of the honor. “I am beyond happy,” she said.
Together with the Klosterman sisters, Lucas was part of a 42-12 season at Southeast that included a championship and a 25-3 record in the KIAC.
The three freshmen all had to fight for starting spots, which they eventually earned in helping their team to a school- record number of wins.
“Everyone had to prove themselves and everyone wanted to play,” Lucas said. “But I really think having (Morgan and Lauren Klosterman) here helped me in being comfortable, being used to the way they played.”
The Klosterman sisters and Lucas played five seasons together with the Indiana Blue Streaks travel team.
They all made a smooth transition into college ball.
Morgan Klosterman hit .352 for the Grenadiers while Lauren Klosterman batted .286.
Lucas hit .421 with 19 extra base hits, including 10 triples.
The amount of triples, which led the nation, was stunning.
“I can turn what normal people would make a double into a triple,” Lucas said. “I’m not your normal catcher.”
Although Lucas, who is only 5-foot tall, knows how to take the extra base, she is not a speed demon. “I think a lot of it is knowing how to run the bases.”
You can’t run the bases, though, if you can’t get on, and Lucas has taken major steps in that department.
“Offensively, her senior year at North, she bought into the fact that she could do something other than slap and bunt,” said Columbus North assistant coach Crystal Lucas, who is Shelby’s aunt. “And she just started seeing the ball better.
“I think that Coach Whitten saw that she was quick and he gave her a chance to hit away. It’s amazing because the kid has worked so hard.”
Crystal Lucas said her niece always has been a hard worker.
“She has a daily planner, and she sticks with it,” Crystal Lucas said.
Shelby Lucas was first in the conference in hits (58) and triples (10), second in runs scored (42) and fifth in RBI (36). She also was named to the IU Southeast Athletic Director’s Honor Roll as a nursing major.
“I had a 4.0 my first semester and a 3.92 my second semester,” Lucas said. “I’m proud of it.”
She’s also proud of her decision to keep her softball career alive. Now she describes her life in college very easily.
“I love it,” she said.