By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Lacee Mulcahey has been making headlines in Goshen High School softball since she was a sophomore.
The senior continued that trend Tuesday by signing a national letter of intent to play softball for the University of Saint Francis Cougars.
The Redskin standout had her priorities in order when it came to selecting a college.
“The basic focus they put on academics at Saint Francis turned me on,” Mulcahey said. “I wanted to play softball in college, but getting my education is the top priority.”
The NAIA Division II school located in Fort Wayne is a member of the Crossroads League that includes among others Goshen College, Bethel College, Grace College and Huntington College.
Saint Francis is a Catholic University, a factor Mulcahey, who transferred from Mishawaka Marian to Goshen before her sophomore season, likes.
“I have gotten a good education here at Goshen, but I think the education at a private school is better,” she said. “In the beginning, going to a Catholic school wasn’t as important as it turned out to be in the end.”
Ryan Bolyn has been the Saint Francis softball coach since 2005. The Hobart High School graduate played three years of baseball at Saint Francis.
“This is a big signing for us,” the coach said. “We are going to be graduating our shortstop who is an NCAA Division I transfer and our top power hitter. We feel Lacee can help us by driving in runs and also scoring runs. I’m not sure yet where she will fit in the batting order, but I know it will be somewhere.”
Coach Cassi McCormack feels it’s also big for the GHS program.
“Two years ago Natalie Newell signed with Bethel, last season McKenzie Byler signed with Bethel and Lacee just keeps it going,” the coach said. “I’m glad she decided on a school that was a good fit for her. She was looking at schools from an academic standpoint first and softball second.”
Mulcahey made her presence known on the GHS softball scene when she singled home Aimee Swihart with the winning run in the Class 4A sectional championship game at Warsaw in 2011.
“I’m happy for her,” McCormack said. “She is a good player, one I think hitting wise will excel at the NAIA level. She is a good hitter that does well in pressure situations.”
The sectional title was the first in the GHS softball program history.
“Saint Francis is a great fit for Lacee,” said former GHS softball coach Scott Hutcherson, who coached the Redskin sectional championship squad. “I think she might be a surprise to some people when it comes to hitting. She has a great knowledge of what it takes to be a good hitter and also a good knowledge of the game itself.”
One person credited for teaching Mulcahey how to hit is 2010 Bethel College graduate Katie Boocher.
“I have known Katie since her senior year at Bethel,” Mulcahey said. “She is a good hitting instructor. She has taught me a lot about hitting and we have a good friendship.”
Boocher’s name is all over the Bethel record books. Among the records she holds are single-season batting average (.524), career batting average (.448), single-season home runs (19) and career home runs (58).
It was a tip from Boocher that got Bolyn interested in recruiting Mulcahey.
“Katie was working a camp and she sent me a massage telling he she was working with a hitter she felt could help my program,” Bolyn said.
“It was nice to have someone that went to a rival school like Katie did call and tell me about a player like Lacee.”
Due to the inclement weather this spring the Redskins have played a limited number of games, but through those contests Mulcahey is hitting .500 (4-for-8) with two home runs and five RBI.
She began the season by homering twice in a season-opening win over West Noble.
A year ago, Mulcahey had a .369 batting average (25-for-65) with four doubles and 11 runs. She had a .388 on-base percentage and a .431 slugging percentage.
Mulcahey started the season for the Redskins in left field.
“She is solid in the outfield for us,” McCormack said.
“She is very quick to the ball. When we do diving practice she never has to dive but always catches the ball.”
She played in the infield before getting to high school.
“I like the outfield better and would like to play there in college, but anyplace they want to put me on the field is fine with me,” Mulcahey said.
“Once I got to high school and was moved to the outfield it seemed like I had been playing there my whole life.”
She also played volleyball.
“I played up to my freshman year,” Mulcahey said. “I enjoy softball more. I like the traveling and being outside in the weather.”
Mulcahey plans to study physical therapy at Saint Francis.
“The school has a great physical therapy program,” she said. “It’s a way for me to stay involved in sports after my playing career is over.”
Lacee is the daughter of Jim and Alice Mulcahey. She has a 21-year-old brother, Lance, who is a student at Notre Dame.