By Brad Fauber
Prior to Lexi Schlag's high school softball career, the freshman made it a personal goal to rise to the varsity level of Strasburg's softball program as quickly as possible.
Schlag didn't have to wait long for her dream to be realized, as Rams coach Suzanne Mathias saw all that she needed during Schlag's JV campaign last season to know that the freshman was ready for the varsity experience this year.
The decision has paid off for Mathias and the Rams during the early part of the season, as Schlag has proven to be a reliable middle-of-the-order bat, and Schlag's stellar performance at the plate against Stonewall Jackson last Wednesday helped key Strasburg's 14-1 win.
Schlag, The Northern Virginia Daily's Girls Prep Athlete of the Week for March 18-24, contributed an astounding eight RBIs for the Rams in the rout. Schlag said she knew after her first at-bat -- a two-run single in the first inning -- that the night was going to be one to remember.
"At first I was really nervous because it was a home game and I didn't want to mess up," Schlag said in a phone interview Monday. "But I came up [in the first inning] and I got those runs and I knew it was going to be a good night."
Schlag followed her first-inning single with another two-run base hit in the second inning to help the Rams build a 4-1 lead over the Generals.
The freshman then capped off her outstanding performance when she came up to bat in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and drove a pitch deep into centerfield for a triple that cleared the bases. Schlag also came around to score on the hit after the ball was misplayed.
Mathias said it is Schlag's combination of experience and knowledge of the sport that has helped the freshman make an early impact.
"She's a good ballplayer ... she's just very softball smart," Mathias said. "She's got that drive to play and she understands the game."
Mathias said Schlag struggled at times during Strasburg's two losses in the Ram Softball Classic on Friday and Saturday, but Schlag understands that the season is going to be filled with ups and downs, especially for a freshman playing at the varsity level.
"I know that I always have to have a good attitude and I always keep my head up," Schlag said.
Schlag, who also had a pair of homeruns in Strasburg's first meeting with Stonewall Jackson on March 15, is currently batting .368 with three homeruns, 11 RBIs and six runs scored through five games. Strasburg is currently 2-3 and is scheduled to begin Bull Run District play with a home game against William Monroe on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org