LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – Madi Balk is always up for a challenge, in fact she actively seeks them out and that’s why she decided to become a pitcher in the first place because she thought it was the most challenging position in softball.

“I will challenge myself in any way I can in a game. Especially now it’s good to get all these challenges at me so I’m more prepared for college,” Madi told News 4 Sports.

Madi has been a huge part of Lancaster softball’s success and her hard work is paying off as she’ll play at Florida State next year.

“They just screamed championship mindset and I really loved the coaches. They were always reaching out to me, they made me feel really wanted by them. And just visiting down there, I fell in love with the school, the facilities are gorgeous and it seemed like the right fit,” Madi explained.

“I think she’s her best in big moments so when we really see those moments in a game when we need somebody to step up and there’s the most pressure on the line that’s when Madi really thrives,” Lancaster softball head coach Kelly Ambrose said.

Where she also thrives is in the classroom as Madi has a 4.0 GPA and ranked eighth in her class of over 400 students which makes her our News 4 Sports female scholar athlete for the month of April.

“It’s a lot of time management and late nights definitely. I jam packed my schedule the last three years so this year I was able to get an easier schedule school wise. But a lot of the time it’s just making sure I plan my week ahead and I’m able to get everything in,” Madi said.

“She works so hard in the classroom and that carries over to the softball field as well. So once you learn that dedication and that focus and that drive it really falls into all the aspects of your life and that’s what we see,” Coach Ambrose said.

Some of her other accomplishments in the classroom include being a member of National Honor Society, English Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Science Honor Society, and World Language Connection Program.

“When she plays softball she’s just as much a student of softball as she is a student in the classroom and so we really see that idea of a scholar athlete in all areas not only on the field but off the field as well.”

Madi’s leadership is always on full display as well as she is a captain for the Legends. She’s also been named MVP in multiple national tournaments including the 2019 USSSA Nationals most outstanding pitcher, 2020 USSSA MVP Nationals and 2020 USSSA Nationals Most Outstanding Pitcher. And it’s her drive and motivation that’s helped her reach these milestones along with another important personality trait.

“Just really competitive, like family game night, that’s the competitive part. I’ve always been competitive in every aspect of my life so sports really bring it out,” Madi laughed.

And that is especially true during games.

“A lot of times it’s just eye contact. Madi and I can look at each other and I look in her eyes and I know this is it, she’s got this next batter. Sometimes it’s a matter of if we have a meeting on the mound I’ll go out there and I’ll just look at her and say are you ready for this? And absolutely I know the answer’s yes,” Coach Ambrose said.

Madi plans to study exercise science at Florida State and possibly add some art classes mixed in. She said she could go either way with the exercise sports route or the more creative career path saying she loves movies especially animation and could even see herself working on Pixar films.