Brayden Parker | Staff Reporter
Published April 15, 2015; 1:45 p.m.
Sitting in the stands watching her older brother playing on the diamond, eight-year-old Lexi Theis was mesmerized by the sport in front of her. Wanting to imitate him, Theis knew that softball was the right sport for her.
“My love started when I was dragged to all my older brother’s games when I was little,” Theis said. “I wanted to be just like him so I started playing.”
Even from those early days, which included playing over 120 games a summer for a competitive team, Theis fell in love with softball and continued playing on both select teams and for Fort Zumwalt North High School.
“My high school career was great,” Theis said. “I made a lot of great friends and memories. I made varsity as a freshman actually as the starting center fielder. I played one game there then coach gave me a chance at first. He liked how I performed so he kept me there for the rest of high school.”
While she became a standout first baseman for the Panthers, being named all-district and all-conference during her sophomore, junior and senior campaigns, Theis is known to her teammates for the leadership she brings to the dugout.
“She brings so much passion and intensity,” Lindenwood infielder Maggie Mikecin said. “She is always cheering for someone and making the dugout a positive place, even if we are losing.”
Mikecin, a fellow O’Fallon native, has known of Theis, the player, for years as they competed against each other during summer leagues. Yet, while playing for the same 16U select team, Mikecin met Theis and now the two are not only teammates, but the best of friends.
“We have one of those friendships where we can not hang out for weeks and then pick up right where we left off,” Mikecin said. “It means so much to know that I have someone I can go to for anything I need and we can experience college softball together.”
The two might have never become teammates as Theis was a touted prospect recruited by programs like Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois-Carbondale. However, Lindenwood’s education program and the athletic program’s transition to the NCAA led Theis to stay close
“I’m an education major and that program here is awesome,” Theis said. “I loved the campus, and the lack of money that would have to come from my pocket every year was a bonus. Plus [head coach] Don [Loberg] seemed like a good guy and the NCAA DII transition was cool.”
Although her first two seasons in St. Charles haven’t seen much success as a team, Theis is still enjoying every minute of playing the sport she loves close to home.
“This year has been even better for me personally, because I’ve had more chances to show what I can do,” Theis said. “I think right now it is just about staying positive through it all and not letting your love for the game fade. But really it is the friends and teammates I’ve made that get me through it all.”