This is the fourth in a series of question-and-answer sessions with Lexington softball players. Lafayette seniors Maddie Burke (who recently became the program’s single-season home runs leader) and Kodi Forish spoke with the Herald-Leader this week.
What do you all like to do for fun outside of softball?
MB: I like to fish and hang out with friends. Eat.
KF: Yeah, eating’s fun (laughing). I like to work. I work in a vet clinic, so I spend most of my time there.
How’d you get set up at a vet clinic?
KF: I go to Locust Trace, and it’s like a technical school affiliated with all Fayette County schools. I did my internship there over the summer and then they hired me in the fall. So I’ve been working there ever since. I want to be a vet.
How many pets do you have?
KF: I currently have three dogs and two cats.
KF: No (laughing). I can’t have any horses since I live in the middle of the city. I wish, but that’s not capable.
So how long have you been fishing, Maddie?
MB: I’ve fished with my family since I was like eight. I used to go down to Florida in the summer and did it sometimes off the pier, but, I’m not that good.
Have you ever been deep-sea fishing?
MB: No, I’m scared. I’m scared of sharks. I go in the river, pond. Simple stuff.
So what about the season so far? What’s would you say has been your team’s defining characteristic?
KF: We’re really close as a team. This year we’ve really tried to bring everybody in and make it one team like we wanted it to be. We know how to work with each other’s role and not just play our position but know how to play others.
MB: I think we’ve really gotten better at communicating and getting the job done. We know what we expect of each other, which really helps out.
What’s it like having Coach Todd Avery leading the team after he was assisting previously?
KF: It’s been fun. I’ve known him for a really long time. He’s always been my coach. So it’s been a fun experience having him have his first year here and it’s our last year. It’s been fun. I’ve always liked his coaching style, so we’ve really clicked as a coach and a player, just that bond we should have. It’s been fun having his first year and my last year, and getting him used to it all and me learning the ways he’s adapting.
MB: He’s coached me for a while too and he’s really helped me become a better person and player. He’s shown me a lot more about myself as a player. I like the way he controls the field.
I hear you’re something of a home run queen here, Maddie?
KF: Yeah Maddie Burke.
MB: (laughing) Just a little bit.
How many have you hit?
MB: Eleven this season. I have no idea for my career.
KF: It’s a lot.
MB: Yea, double digits. I’m not sure.
What about your approach has made that possible for you?
MB: I just listen to my coaches and I just wait for what I want. I don’t rush it. I just take my time and get what I want.
What’s your favorite pitch to see?
MB: Honestly, I’ve gotten thrown a lot of outside starting this season, so I’ve really learned to hit that. That’s kind of been my favorite.
What do you two want out of your final season?
KF: One is for sure to keep all the bonds that I have with all my teammates going into next year. And I do want to make it to state. That’s been our goal since we joined the team in seventh grade, to make it to state. With the talent we have on this team we probably can, it’s just coming together and working together throughout the season.
MB: I’d like to make it past region at least, and I want everyone to learn new things so they can take it into next year as we leave.
How tough is it to compete with perennial contenders Scott County and Woodford County?
KF: I know every time I approach a game against Scott County or Woodford County, I try calming the girls because they’re all worked up. If you think about it, it’s just another game. They have a lot of talent, but it’s just another game with the same amount of people and the same amount of talent. It’s just, you gotta come out and play your game and get on top first before they can.
MB: I think they can be beatable, but they are really good teams, both of them. We just have to come out and play our best and our hardest and not take them lightly.
What kind of of team-bonding activities have you all partaken in?
MB: Well, we’re pranksters, so …
KF: (laughing) Yeah …
MB: We’d maybe like fork somebody’s house on the team if they’re not with us.
Did what to somebody’s house?
KF and MB: Forked.
KF: You just stick forks in their yard.
MB: Plastic forks. Or like put flamingos in their yard or something.
KF: It’s a great surprise.
MB: We always get ice cream.
KF: We’re a very ice cream eating team. Or it’s just like going out on weekends or going to somebody’s house and spending the whole day with them and just driving around Lexington finding new things to do.
What are your favorite ice cream places?
MB: Orange Leaf.
MB: I get chocolate-chip cookie dough.
KF: Yeah. That’s the top favorite of the team.
What advice would you give to the younger girls?
MB: I want them to enjoy it because it does go by fast. And I want them to work their hardest because good things will come if you work hard.
KF: Always stay positive, no matter what happens. Because life’s gonna happen. Always stay positive and try to be happy throughout the process, because like she said, it does go by fast and you want to enjoy it rather than worry about the bad stuff.
So you’ve signed with Georgetown College, Kodi. What led to that decision?
KF: Coach Thornton has always followed my summer-ball team around and he saw me play one weekend and my coach introduced me to him, and so I was emailing him back and forth all summer. And then I had a few other schools in mind, but it really came down which could give me more money and which one would help me get to vet school better. I talked to their biology department and their chemistry department and made sure they had a passing rate into vet school and not, like, a low one, because in the end-all school’s more important than softball. So I wanted to choose a school that would get me on the right (path) for my future.
What’s happening for you in the near future, Maddie?
MB: I have to get surgery on my shoulder, so I’ll be recovering from that. Then I’ll be attending EKU. Maybe I’ll walk on after I redshirt or something. But I’m gonna focus on school mostly and go into business.
What kind of business interests you?
MB: The real estate area. I’ve always been interested in that. My old friend’s family, they own a business in Mt. Sterling, so I may go over there and job shadow or something.
Tell me about your injury.
MB: I’ve been playing through it this season. I have a torn labrum. It’s been difficult but right now it’s okay. I usually start out fine but if I get a lot of balls in a game, then I usually come out because it feels like it just, it just hurts so bad. But I usually just take Advil and ice.
Have you always played your respective positions?
MB: I’ve always played middle infield. I used to play second base but since Kara (Bethel), our senior last year, moved, I’ve switched over to shortstop.
KF: Ever since high school I’ve played outfield. When I played baseball I played infield cause that’s where my dad wanted me. But I moved to outfield.
KF: Yes. We played baseball together. That’s how we started out as friends, when we were 5.
How long did you all play baseball?
MB: I only played two years of tee ball then my parents switched me over.
KF: I played until I was 8 or 9 and then switched to softball.
How many of your teammates played baseball?
MB: I feel like almost half.
KF: We have one softball park here, Cardinal Run. My dad’s always been a baseball coach and it was just easier for him to get me into baseball than teach me softball. And then I played with my brother throughout until I quit baseball and moved to softball.
MB: It was more competitive when we were littler, at baseball, so that’s where my parents started me out. “Make me tougher.”
KF: “Play with the boys.”
Did it make you tougher?
KF and MB: Yeah. (laughing).
Anything else you’d like to share with about Lafayette?
KF: Not that I can think of.
MB: Oh, we all rock these Crocs.
KF: We are the Croc school.
MB: We got, like, every color.
KF: If you don’t have Crocs, you’re not cool. That’s how it rolls.
Where’d that start?
KF: I had Crocs over the summer and then I got this one involved. And then we got the rest of the team involved.
How does the team feel about it?
MB: Some people do it because they make fun of ’em but we all used to wear ’em when we were little so, we’re bringing ’em back.
KF: People’ll come around to the Croc style. They go with any outfit, let me tell you.
Did you wear them to prom?
MB: My mom wouldn’t let me.
KF: Yeah, no. (laughing).
MB: I would’ve.
KF: They said, ‘We gotta act like a girl one day.’
Week one: Katie Hurley (Bryan Station)
Week three: Taetum Crawford (Henry Clay)
Week four: Maddie Burke and Kodi Forish (Lafayette)