Abigayl Lucas chatted on her phone with a huge smile while
 
rolling her softball bag out of the dugout as she exited
 
Rawlings Sports Complex on Saturday.
 

Her smile and demeanor reflected that of any teenage girl.

Lucas’ attitude and comfort on the diamond reflected that of a veteran.

As she rounded the bases, chants of “She’s a freshman” from her teammates filled the air and coach Wes Madrill stuck out his hand at third to high-five Lucas.

“I honestly didn’t think I’d be where I am right now with starting as a freshman,” Lucas said of her role with the Colts. “I thought I’d play the first 11 games and then they had a solid outfield and infield so I was sure I would sit.

“I practiced and worked hard to get where I’m at right now.”

The Colts won’t deny that.

When the season began, "(South) didn’t really have a catcher,” senior Makayla Keck said, and Lucas filled that slot. Keck added Lucas “was incredible behind the plate.”

Keck, who also shined at Regionals and allowed one run and five hits in two games, spoke highly of Lucas and her approach since the season started.

Keck said Lucas brought an attitude of “I’m coming in as a freshman and you better watch out because I’m coming in hot every game.”

“It’s a team thing: If somebody is going to do their job, you have to do your job. We feed off each other,” Keck said. “It was like, if she’s going to hit, then I need to hit every game.”

Lucas isn’t far from that feat.

She has 35 hits this season and, according to MaxPreps.com, no Colts freshman has tallied more than 30 since at least 2009. Stats do not go further than the 2009 season.

In 2010, Kendra Jesik had 28 hits in 22 games for the Colts.

Adding to Lucas’ allure, her deep ball against Cheyenne Mountain built her team-leading home run total to four — one more than last year’s entire Colts team and four more than South had in 2016. “It’s great to see that from somebody younger,” Keck said. “It’s great to see her set the standard – not only for her peers but for us upperclassmen.”

Lucas said it’s all about concentrating on hitting.

“I just relax, stay out of my head and clear my mind,” Lucas said. “I’ve worked hard on my hitting. Everything else is just staying out of my head. When I was younger, I was not good at that.

“Everybody is expecting so much from me, so I just clear my mind and block everything out.”

Earning the regional crown alleviates some of that burden. Lucas is grateful for the accomplishment.

“It feels pretty good to make it that far as a freshman and help get the seniors that win,” Lucas said.