The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

January 1, 2014

Softball: Morrison freshman commits to Missouri

MORRISON, Ill. – College is usually one of the last things on the minds of high school freshmen. Instead, 14-year-old boys and girls are usually worried about fitting in to a new high school setting.

Morrison freshman Lauren Rice doesn’t have to worry about that – she’s already found a new place to fit in once she’s done being a Fillie.

Rice is only 14 years old and loves to play softball. She has not officially thrown a pitch yet for the Morrison Fillies. Despite that, she has already verbally committed to play for the SEC’s Missouri Tigers following graduation in 2017.

Rice has been pitching since she was seven, and loves the competitiveness each time she steps inside the circle. Her ASA and travel softball career started here in Clinton playing for the Comettes.

That’s why she chose to go play for Mizzou and vie for a chance to compete in the College World Series in Oklahoma City.

The relationship between Rice and Missouri first started earlier this summer when Rice played for the Beverly Bandits, a nationally-known U-14 team out of Chicago that continually produces Division I prospects.

Rice and Missouri head coach Ehren Earlywine have had phone conversations the last couple of months which led to Rice and her family being invited down on Dec. 14 to visit the campus and participate in a prospect camp.

Once she arrived in Columbia, Mo., and got a chance to take a look around campus, the coaches got a chance to see Rice throw. And the result is something no one expected.

Rice’s first pitch was clocked at 70 miles per hour. Doing warm-ups. That’s near triple digits on a speed gun from a regulation baseball mound. Now remember: she’s only 14.

“I was even blown away when I found out that I was throwing 70,” said Rice. “I’ve been throwing around the mid-to-upper 60s but not 70, and to do it in front of them was awesome.”

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