Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Berkeley Lady Stag centerfielder and leadoff hitter Lexi Samples joined baseball counterpart Connor Teague in being the first of the Stags’ 2014 class to sign letters of intent to continue their playing careers on the collegiate level.
“It’s a big weight lifted off my shoulders,” Teague said. “Now I can concentrate on winning ball games.”
Teague is one of the leaders of the Berkeley baseball team that won a District 7 championship when he was a sophomore and the school’s first region championship (7AAA) since 1960 as a junior.
Coach Landy Cox sees Teague as a good example of what comprises a Berkeley Stag.
“Connor has great character. He comes from a great family and will represent Berkeley baseball and Berkeley athletics well.”
Samples will be able to realize a childhood dream next year after signing a letter of intent to play college softball for the Flying Fleet of Erskine. Teague signed to play baseball at Newberry.
For Samples it’s the culmination of a long journey back from a knee injury suffered during last spring’s powder puff football game, an injury she still works hard at getting back to full strength.
“I am ecstatic about signing with Erskine and also blessed for the opportunity,” Samples said. “I had never really thought about playing college softball until I started playing travel ball in the fall of my junior year.”
According to Stags’ Coach Boogie Grooms, it was a travel ball softball camp at Erskine that put Samples back on the map as a legitimate collegiate prospect.
“Lexi was taking part in a camp at Erskine and we had gone there to have them look at another player,” Grooms said. “Before her knee injury Lexi could get down the first baseline at 2.91 seconds. At the camp she was timed at 2.97 seconds. Do you know what was the difference in those two times? Barely a half-a-step.”
Grooms sat down with Erskine’s staff during to talk about this other player and that’s when Sample’s name came up.
“They saw Lexi run during the camp and were sold on her on the spot,” Grooms said. “Then they say her grades and made her an offer.”
Samples said bouncing back from the knee injury has been a challenge.
“The knee injury has been really hard for me to overcome this past year. I have been working hard to get it strong again but it is still not as strong as it used to be.”
Samples is a goals-oriented athlete who strives on hard work and attitude.
“If you work hard anything is possible. Also don’t let your attitude get in the way of playing ball to your full potential.”