Warriors Athlete of Week: Roby revels in shortstop role
Lexi Roby is aware and proud to be part of a Brainerd Warriors legacy.
That legacy is playing shortstop for the Warrior softball team.
The junior is the latest in a line that includes Maria West, Abby Rehberger, Stephanie Neugebauer and Megan Arns to mention a few in recent years. Roby knows the names and respects the position.
"I do know the history, yes, but also, I'm just so comfortable there. I really put a lot of pressure on myself to make every play that I can because I know there has been a lot of good shortstops before me and I just want to keep that legacy going."
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- Sport: Softball
- Position: Shortstop
- Year: Junior
- Age: 17
- Height: 5-4 3/4
- Career highlight: Hitting two home runs last year against Apollo in one game
- Other sports: Soccer, basketball
- Grade-point average: 4.12
- Favorite class: Human Biology
- Favorite food: Sushi
- Favorite movie: "The Heat"
- Favorite TV show: "Greys Anatomy"
- Favorite website: Twitter
- Favorite app: Instagram
- Future plans: Go to college and study pre-med, possibly play college softball
- Favorite athlete: Serena Williams
- Parents: Mick and Angella Roby
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Warriors head coach Shane Jordan has no problem putting Roby on that list of accomplished shortstops. He enjoys just sitting back and watching her make plays.
"I think she's as good as any of them. She makes the plays that make us coaches look around and say, 'wow. That was really good,'" he said. "I'm not so sure anyone else could have made that play. She's a great athletic kid at shortstop, but she's also really smart, too.
"She made a play, a ball was jammed and hit over her left shoulder. She just drop stepped and went out into short left center field and made the catch. She made it look easy. I think everybody in the park looked around and said, 'No way did we think she was going to catch that ball.'
"You look back and all you see is Lexi, she's got that blond ponytail and that smile just be-bopping back into the infield like it was no big deal. She just made it look real easy."
There might be a misconception of Roby by watching her. She shows little emotion while on the soccer pitch, baseball court or softball field. Underneath that quiet demeanor, however, something different is happening.
"I'm extremely, extremely competitive," Roby said. "I will go at length to win. I hate losing more than I like winning. I despise losing. When I'm out there I'm really intense. I really want to win. But also I like to have fun. The games that are going well for us, I know it's OK to have fun, but sometimes when people are having too much fun, I just try to remind them to stay focused, especially in the field. Make the outs one at a time. You can't get them all at one time. I am pretty intense."
Pretty intense and pretty good, too. During a seven-game stretch last week, in which the Warriors finished 6-1, Roby went 13-of-28 with four singles, seven doubles, two home runs, 10 runs scored and 16 RBIs.
For the season, Roby is batting .475 with a .493 on-base percentage and a .895 slugging percentage. In 61 at bats, she has collected 29 hits, eight doubles, three triples, three home runs, 25 RBIs and 21 runs.
"I would say in the last couple of years she's really changed her swing," said Jordan. "She's gotten it more compact and quicker. She's developed a swing that is very consistent and is shown to be powerful. Her work ethic in the offense to become stronger and get her bat quicker has really paid off. She's able to hit the single or hit one over the fence or in the gap, too. She's worked really hard to get where she's at right now."
Roby said her goal was to hit .500. She realized it was a lofty goal, but she wanted to set a good example for her younger teammates to strive for big things she said. She also wanted to improve her range at shortstop and an offseason that concentrated on explosiveness and quickness seems to have worked. In 17 games, Roby only has three errors and owns a .946 field percentage.
Another thing working in Roby's favor is her varsity experience. She's a three-year varsity soccer player, a two-year varsity basketball player and this is her third year on the varsity softball team.
"I'm extremely comfortable as a varsity athlete," Roby said. "I think being on varsity as a ninth-grader really helped me. I remember I would get so nervous I thought I was going to throw up before some games. I think that really was a good decision by my coaches to have me start there so young because I got those games out of the way early. The next years, I can just keep building that confidence. I think every game it grows a little bit, just making plays that I surprise myself with."
Other notable performances:
Bryce Flanagan, baseball, finished 2-3 with a double, home run and two RBIs in Game Two and pitched the victory in Game 1 during a sweep of Willmar.