College is mapped out for Mackenzie Starcevich, which means the Boone Grove senior's competitive softball career ends this spring.
Starcevich, a four-year varsity athlete in both soccer and softball, returns to the pitch next fall, committing to St. Francis (Ind.). Now, the focus is on the diamond.
"It wasn't really easy to manage it before," Starcevich said. "Now I'm not attending two practices (in the spring). I feel like I've been able to focus more on softball than I've had in the past.
"I needed to step up for my team."
The leadoff hitter is batting .575 through six games for the Wolves (3-3). She also has a .667 slugging percentage, nine steals and seven RBIs — all with two outs.
"She has come to accept her role as the leader of the team," Boone Grove coach Ron Saunders said of Starcevich, who was an All-Porter County Conference selection two years ago. "Playing travel soccer and softball wore her down. She's already got that scholarship for soccer, so she's stronger this season."
Just like on the soccer field, Starcevich uses her speed to her advantage. She's only been caught once on the base paths, and she's a pretty proficient bunter. That doesn't mean Saunders mainly has Starcevich bat left-handed and slap-hit at the plate.
"I know of her potential from the right side," Saunders said of Starcevich, who had an inside-the-park home run against Westville. "I just don't always want to take the bat out of her hands."
Whatever the situation, Starcevich approaches each at-bat with confidence.
"I don't even realize the pressure (with two-out situations)," she said. "I don't press. I just do whatever I can to get on base."
Starcevich reached on a bunt single Tuesday, igniting the Wolves' four-run fifth inning in a 5-2 win against North Newton.
"I usually can start the momentum," she said. "You have to have confidence in yourself to be able to make it out there."
This is the last competitive softball season for Starcevich, who has played both sports for more than 10 years. She finished her prep soccer campaign with 35 goals and 15 assists and would like to have that type of impact on her softball team.
"It was a very hard decision to pick one sport for college," Starcevich said. "I'm upset this is my final (softball) season, but I'm glad to spend it with friends.
"Softball hasn't come naturally to me. Since my freshman season, I've had really good coaches, and they've helped me become more aggressive."