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Carlee Liesch leaves legacy in her final softball season

Softball Feature

UNK senior Carlee Liesch is playing her final season of softball for the Lopers and even before graduating, she has already left a lasting impact on the program. The 5-foot-8 outfielder has 213 career hits, putting her in fourth on the UNK career hits list. She is only 26 behind first place Kathy Nelson, who had 239 hits between 1981-84.

While she is proud of her individual successes, she is thankful for all the opportunities that the team has given her.

“UNK softball has meant so much to me,” Liesch said. “All of the relationships I’ve made throughout the years, all of my teammates. Even just the support that we’ve gotten throughout the years.”

Liesch has been a major contributor to the Lopers’ 23-21 record this season. She has a team-high .386 batting average, with 56 hits and 24 RBIs. Last year, Liesch went the entire season without recording a walk, just hits and strikeouts.

When deciding what college to attend, a UNK softball camp was the difference in her decision to come join the Lopers.

“The second camp that I went to I just had a moment, like I really love this school,” Liesch said. “Part of it was I think I liked a lot of the girls’ personalities that were there, a lot of the players that were at the camps. I just felt like I could fit in and that it would be a good fit for me. It felt like home.”

Even when Liesch faced challenges and struggles in her life, she still always had softball to fall back on.

“It’s always been my outlet where I could shut off any stress in my life, or not focus on school or outside distractions,” Liesch said. “It was my outlet to just hit the yellow ball and focus to get better every day.”

From the age of seven to her junior year of high school, Liesch had a mentor that she still speaks with today. Her summer ball coach, Matt Mullendore, played a major impact on her development not only as a player, but as a person as well. 

“He really formed me into the player that I am and he made us all really successful ballplayers,” Liesch said. “He just believed in us. He still made it out to a game this year and he still checks in on all of us.”

Her high school lifting coach, Demoine Adams, has been another mentor for Liesch. During her time with the Lopers, Adams has continued to check in with her and make sure her mentality is right through all the struggles and successes.

It was hard for Liesch to think of one specific favorite memory from her time on the UNK softball team, only because some of her favorite moments are simply the small things that happen every day.

“A lot of my favorite memories are things that just happen on a daily basis,” Liesch said. “The jokes that are made all the time, just the chemistry that we all have together when we’re at practice joking around, but then we still focus up. Those are some of my favorite memories.”

Currently sitting fifth in the MIAA standings, the Lopers will travel to Oklahoma this weekend to wrap up their regular season against Northeastern State and Rogers State.

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KEVIN BURD, Sports Edior
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