Madison County senior pitcher Lauren Seale has pitched so many perfect games and no hitters in her career that she can't remember exactly how many. But she does remember exactly what it feels like.
"It's always exciting to throw a no hitter or perfect game, just you get a thrill out of it I guess," she says.
Seale also plays volleyball at Madison, but she's excelled the most on the mound, earning all-state honors twice and region pitcher of the year as a junior.
"It's a competitive sport to me and always keeps me going, active," Seale says of softball, which she's been playing since she was five. "My sister used to play it, so that's what really got me into it because I wanted to beat her out. I am a competitive person when it comes to sports and academics. I want to beat everybody out."
Seale's competitive nature has allowed her to keep a 4.034 grade-point-average. The senior is committed to play softball at Eastern Mennonite starting in the fall, and plans to study elementary and special education.
"I have taken many classes dealing with the younger students like service learning and teachers for tomorrow," she says. "I just feel like it's a good experience to educate the future. They’re our future generation so it's a chance to make the future better."
"I think her teammates look up to her, and I think little kids would do the same," said Madison softball coach Jesse Yowell. "Her teammates I think look up to her as a leader on the team, knowing that she's the one on the mound. She's really pretty much in charge of trying to control the batters and the hitters on the other team."
As competitive as she is, Yowell says Seale is also supportive of those around her.
"I've really never seen her down, or kind of be down with another teammate or anything like that," he said. "To me, she's the one that's trying to pick them up if they're down. Even if she, you know say something gets a good hit off her or something like that, she kind of picks herself back up."
This season, Seale is striving to pick her teammates up and carry them to a state title. The Mountaineers have made states every year in her career, but they've never won.
"Being there that many times, you know what it's like to get there, but no one knows exactly what it is to win it," said Yowell. "I know that would be one thing they'd all like to tell her students or anybody else in the future, that I have a state ring that we won in softball."
"We talk about it a lot, because this is the biggest year we have to win with my last year, I guess," Seale said. "I think we're really motivated to win this year, because we know the feeling of loss and we don't really like that as much as a win, so I think we're ready to win the championship."