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Madison Hagood: from picking dandelions to picking up trophies

Graduate student and former Oklahoma Christian University softball player Madison Hagood almost quit softball when she was 11 years old.

A decade later, Hagood pitched for Oklahoma Christian as they defeated Lubbock Christian University and clinched the program’s first Division II conference title.

Hagood, from Comanche, TX, began playing softball at Oklahoma Christian in fall 2015. She started 24 games her freshman season, throwing 110 strikeouts and 61 walks.

During her sophomore year, she recorded the most saves in the conference and was chosen as the Heartland Conference Pitcher of the Year. Hagood was named to the Academic All-District Team for the second straight year during her junior season, after the Lady Eagles missed winning the conference title with a loss to Rogers State University in the longest game in school history, lasting 3 ½ hours long.

In her final season as a Lady Eagle, complete with a head coaching change, Hagood helped lead Oklahoma Christian to their first conference title and first regional appearance in program history. She pitched 15-8 on the season while striking out 101 batters.

Hagood ended her career as the Division II leader for saves with 17. During her time at Oklahoma Christian, she earned All-Heartland honors four times, two first team honors and two second team honors.

While a student, Hagood also participated in several off-the-field organizations. She served as an editor in three different positions for the student newspaper, the Talon. As a senior, she led the paper as editor-in-chief. She also participated in a women’s social service club, Theta Theta Theta and led Oklahoma Christian’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

After graduating in December 2018, Hagood began pursuing her Master of Business Administration with a marketing focus at Oklahoma Christian. She also works full-time at Saxum, a public relations agency in Oklahoma City, after serving as an intern while still in college.

When did you start playing softball, and what prompted your love for the game?

I played T-ball when I was four. I wasn’t really athletic. I didn’t really have a lot of passion for it or sports in general. I was always that girl that picked dandelions out in the outfield. I was about to turn 11, and I was hitting that spot where I knew I didn’t really want to play anymore. Then, we were at practice one day, about to head to the district tournament, and one of the coach’s daughters was the pitcher. He made an announcement that her grandad passed away so she wasn’t going to be able to make it to the district tournament. They needed a back-up pitcher. He was like, ‘Who would be interested in learning how to pitch?’ and I don’t remember why, but I raised my hand. A couple of weeks later, I pitched at the district tournament. My very first game, I walked every single batter. I think we lost 32-0. I don’t know why I didn’t quit in that moment, but something just made me want to keep doing it. A year later, we faced the same team at the state tournament and ended up beating them. I was pitching.

Why did you want to play softball at Oklahoma Christian?

I knew that I wanted to play softball at a Christian university. I had never been to the state of Oklahoma before, and I had never even heard of Oklahoma Christian. I was playing at a tournament down in Texas that I actually wasn’t even supposed to go to, last minute I agreed to do it. The Oklahoma Christian coaches were actually there scouting a different pitcher, and she didn’t perform well. They were leaving early because they weren’t super excited about her. On their way out, they happened to look over, and I was pitching. I always say that you have to believe that’s God’s work right there making things line up, because if any of those elements hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now.

What’s one of your favorite memories while playing softball as a Lady Eagle?

Definitely winning conference this year, that was something that had been our goal all four years, so to have that happen my senior year was just such an incredible feeling, and to do it with the other seniors—they’re some of my best friends in the whole world, and that’s something I will never forget.

Then, on senior day I got to hit for one of my few times, and I hit a double. My team—you would have thought I had just hit the game-winning grand slam or something. They all went crazy, and the stands gave me a standing ovation. They made me a tunnel in the dugout that I got to run through. That’s my favorite in-the-game moment.

Why make a point to be not just the softball girl?

In high school, I was very involved—I always have been. I played like five sports. I was a member of every club, and I loved it. I told myself it was going to be really hard for me to go to a university and only play softball because I was so used to be involved, and I have so many different interests. I love softball, but I also love journalism, and I love being a part of an organization like Theta. I knew that I would not be happy only playing softball, so I made that a point of emphasis. That’s one reason I am glad I came here, because at a Division I school, you only get to play a sport and that’s your whole life.

Other than softball, where do you feel you made the biggest impact, and which was your favorite to be involved in?

Definitely the Talon. I have always loved writing. I love that the Talon gives students a place to hone those writing skills and share what’s going on, on this campus. Oklahoma Christian does a great job of not trying to limit what students can write about—it’s pretty free to express your opinion and work on those writing skills. I love that I was able to be a part of that in so many different capacities, serving in three different positions and then editor-in-chief my senior year. It’s cool to be a part of writing the news, because as a softball player you’re making the news.

Describe some of your emotions during the postseason run this past spring.

It was hard. We knew it was going to end eventually. All year we kept saying we’re going to win conference. One of the biggest let downs of the season was when we lost to Newman after we’d beaten them three times in a row, run-ruled them all three games, and we did not get to host the conference tournament because of that. That was really hard, and it was a wake-up call for us. We went down to San Antonio, won three games in a row and took the trophy back here.

Getting to be a part of the first team to go to Regionals was really cool. They did the bracket set-up, and they mispronounced our conference name because no one knew who we were. They matched us up against the hardest regional in the country, and I think no one really expected much of us, but everyone knew who Oklahoma Christian was by the time we left.

There was a play in the Colorado Mesa game where we thought our season came to an end. The girl didn’t tag up, but they scored and they technically won. The only reason our season didn’t end there was because we appealed it and the umpire said that she left early. That was such a turning point. I went from tears flooding my eyes to having two more games.

How did it feel to put in all this work and then receive recognition for everything you’ve done?

It was really humbling. I didn’t really know those awards existed. I found out about scholar athlete when I was in the middle of the ocean on a cruise ship. I’m just really thankful, especially to Murray. I really want to give a big shout out to him. He really put in so much time, and he’s always been one of my biggest fans and it’s been nice to have the support of him, the athletic department and the university in general. President deSteiguer texted me, Chris Adair texted me, the MBA office texted me.

How did you manage to balance all of that and translate into life-time management?

Definitely time management skills were key. I’m very organized. I knew if I was going to do all this, I didn’t want it to kill me. I wanted to do all of it to the best of my ability. The coaches worked with me. Dr. Patterson worked with me. It was kind of a team effort to be able to do all of it and knowing where your priorities lie.

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