JUCO’s become personal for Rifle resident | PostIndependent.com

JUCO’s become personal for Rifle resident

Post Independent/Phil Sandoval

GRAND JUNCTION – Growing up, Lyndie Madison looked forward to attending the Junior College World Series for entertainment. That changed this year.Back home in Rifle for the summer, JUCO suddenly became personal to Madison.Rather than choosing a team to root for on a whim, Madison’s school – Walters State, Tenn. – made it to the 10-team national tournament.”It’s really exciting to have a team that I know real well and cheer for a team all the way through,” she said of the Senators, who lost their first game of the tournament Friday night against Yavapai, Ariz.While it might force her to take an extra work shift or two as a trade off, Madison said she’ll be in the stands to see the Senators bring home the big prize. “The guys knew that I lived in Colorado – That’s my nickname down there – they all call me Colorado,” she said. “As soon as I knew they made it to JUCO, I called them, and said, ‘I’ll be there. I’m coming to your first game and I’ll try to come to as many games as I can, but I have to work.’ I got lucky and got my whole work schedule adjusted around them, so I can come watch.”

It was during a work shift Madison found out about the Senators’ good fortune.”I was at work, and I just happened to jump online to JUCO real quick. That’s how I found out they were coming here. I was pretty excited about it.”Walters State can wrap up the title by defeating Yavapai in the championship game tonight at Suplizio Field. Yavapai defeated the Senators Friday by a 9-0 margin to force the winner-take all contest (see related story on next page).Following baseball has been a habit for most of Lyndie’s life. Her dad, Kevin, played in the 1975 tournament for Iowa Western Community College. Later, he was an assistant coach for Rifle High’s baseball team. Lyndie’s brother, Owen, starred for the 2001, 2002 and 2003 Bears.Madison, however, is more than a team supporter. In high school, she was a member of the RHS varsity softball team for three years. After graduating in 2005, she wanted to continue her playing career in college.That’s how Madison discovered Walters State.

“I kind of wanted to go out of state for a couple of years, so I started looking at colleges on the Internet,” she said. After checking out a number of colleges, Madison whittled her search down to three Southeastern universities.”I found out it would be easier to transfer to those schools if you go to a junior college that’s close-by. So, I looked at six JC’s in Tennessee and Walters State ended up being the one I liked the most.”It turned out to be a good choice.After relocating to Morristown, Tenn., and settling into college life, Madison sought out the school’s head softball coach – Larry Sauceman – for a tryout. Her skills earned her a spot on the roster along with some scholarship money.Once involved in college athletics, Madison’s biggest discovery was the team’s devotion to softball, along with a longer schedule than she was accustomed too.

“There’s a lot more games,” she said. “There’s more dedication and a lot more work (to college softball), but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.”This past season, Madison was a part-time player. She hopes to become a starter for the 2007 Senators.”I did have a pretty good season when I had a chance to hit,” she said. (The coach is) looking at me to play outfield again. Hopefully, I’ll have a better chance this coming year.”That’s a few months again. Right now, Madison’s focus is on the baseball team. “There is a relationship there among both teams,” she said. “When we could, we would support them and when they could, they supported us. We live right next to each other in the apartments on campus. So we’ve become really close friends.”Win or lose, Madison will be pleased with the baseball Senators’ final results at JUCO. “I’m really proud of them,” she concluded.

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