Hargis signs with University of Memphis

NCHS senior Linsey Hargis signed her letter of intent to play softball for the University of Memphis during a reception in her honor Thursday, Nov. 12. From left are her sister and niece, Shaylynn and Harley Brown, brother Jake Hargis, Linsey and her parents, Lynn and Gary Hargis. Photos by Juanice Gray

By Juanice Gray, Editor

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. No truer words were spoken when it comes to shortstop and pitcher Linsey Hargis. Her diamond sparkles in the sun, but it does more than just look pretty, it was the gateway to her college education.

Hargis’ dad, Gary Hargis, said his daughter has spent her life on the ballfield. “I’ve seen people just as dedicated as her, but she gives more than 100%. When she was younger she would come in from practice then want to play ball in the yard with anyone who would play. It’s literally all she’s ever done.” Hargis began playing at around age four or five in T-ball. By age 13 she was playing travel ball for one of the state’s largest and most prestigious teams, New Orleans Voodoo. She went for open tryouts and was accepted as a shortstop and continues to play that position as well as second base for the team.

Playing nationally with the Voodoo opened many doors for Hargis. It gave her the exposure she needed to catch the eye of college recruiters as well as the skills she needed to step on the field at NCHS as a freshman starter at shortstop. She was also a member of the Junior Olympic team.

Tournaments in Colorado and Texas are regular events for Hargis, who will travel to Plano, Texas, this weekend for Gold National games. Head coach Ronnie Abels said Hargis was recruited as a middle infielder, but is also “a better pitcher that what she gives herself credit for.” He said she and her teammates were the first group he coached at NCHS. “She has led us in every category, both offensively and defensively. She’ll most likely also be a four-time All District player as well.”

NCHS head softball coach Ronnie Abels, left, congratulates Linsey Hargis, center, on her admission to the University of Memphis. At right are assistant coaches Kelsey Gallman and Trenton Smith.

Hargis said Jesse Barksdale with the New Orleans Voodoo was a source of encouragement, but her first, and most important mentor was, and still is, her brother, Jake. “I may never have wanted to play if it wasn’t for him.”

“I want to thank my teammates for pushing me to be my best and reminding me that ball can still be fun,” Hargis said. She has made weekly trips since age 13 to New Orleans for practices and games so sometimes the pressure can take the fun away from game play. “When playing travel ball it’s more to it, but high school ball, you can have more fun,” she said.

Her parents are thrilled to see her sign her letter, but not so much the distance they’ll have to travel to see her. “I don’t want to her to go that far, but at least it’s still within reach; but just barely,” Gary said. “She just wanted to go somewhere else, and that is understandable.”

“My parents are excited for me,” Hargis said. “But I’m the baby and they don’t want to see me go.” She said she chose Memphis because during her visit the coaches were great and there was a great atmosphere there. She looked at other colleges, including Southern Alabama, but had not gotten an offer yet. “Several colleges showed interest,” she said, but after that visit, and they gave me a really good offer, it’s where I wanted to go,” she said.

While Hargis is obviously a standout on the field, her academic record is just as impressive, a fact her father extolls. “She’s had a 4.0 since freshman year and right now she has close to a 4.3 GPA. She’s really maintained her grades and thankfully has no trouble at all,” he said.

“Linsey is (an example) of what happens when you put in the time and work,” Abels said.

She is the first in her family to attend college on an athletic scholarship.