Indians’ Madison Cabell excited about team’s goals
Published 11:25 am Friday, May 23, 2014
COURTLAND—Even though she is batting .633 through 11 games this season, Southampton High School’s Madison Cabell was quick to deflect the attention to the team’s play.
“I’m not really focused on myself as much. I’m more about the team,” the 18-year-old senior said. “Overall, we are doing pretty good.
“I think everyone is excited. We’re ready to get to regionals.”
From regionals, the goal is to lead the team to the state finals in 3A play.
“The goal is always to go to states,” Cabell said. “Two years ago, with my sister on the team, we were close.”
Getting there is just about practicing and making sure the team is ready to handle whatever situation is thrown at them.
“We definitely have the mentality to get there,” she said. “Every day we just have to practice as hard as we can and stay focused.”
As far as becoming a team leader, Cabell credits her family and travel ball.
“Travel ball really got me to focus more on the team,” she said. “You are playing in front of like 1,000 coaches, but in order to look good, you have to look good as a team first.”
When Cabell’s out on the field or in the dugout, you can always hear her calling to the other players, trying to keep them in the game, or helping them back up after a tough at-bat.
“We’ve got a lot of freshmen on the team,” she said. “You just have to pick the other players up because a lot will fall down. We also have seven seniors, and we’re just trying to prepare the younger ones for when we leave.”
Head Coach Susan Melbye said with Cabell, it’s kind of like having a player-coach.
“With some of the younger players, she tries to take on that mentor role,” Melbye said. “Coaching is something she has seen her whole life. Her dad [Steve Cabell] has coached her, and he’s been a great role model for her.”
For some it’s tough to stay focused as a senior, especially as graduation gets closer and closer, but that’s not the case for Cabell or the other seniors.
“We’re all really excited, but we knew we have one job when we step on the field,” she said. “Everyone realizes that, and we’re all determined on our one goal.”
That one goal being making it to states and winning.
As far as where Cabell is going, in the fall she received a Division 1 NCAA Scholarship to play softball at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania.
“It is going to be an exciting journey,” she said. “I’m still taking it one day at a time, but it is going to be amazing.”
Cabell started as a freshman at third base, after playing JV in eighth grade.
“It was awesome,” she said. “It was actually my favorite year. The competition was crazy, and I knew I had to be better and get a lot better to play.
“So I worked as hard as I could, and that landed me a starting position at third.”
Third base was a good fit due to the adrenaline rush it brings.
“I’ve always had a faster arm,” Cabell said, implying she could play outfield. “But I like the ball being hit at me faster. It’s fun to have it shot down the line, and then you just have to react.”
And as she kept playing, she continued to get better. During her sophomore year, she had a batting average of .694, hit 1 home run, scored 20 runs, hit 17 RBIs and fielded at a clip of .974 percent.
During junior year, the year after her sister Marissa graduated, she hit .425, knocked in 15 runs and scored 13. She had a fielding percent of .967 at third base. So far this year, she’s batting .633, has driven in 20 RBIs, has scored 17 runs, and is perfect in the field. She has hit 6 triples and has 5 stolen bases.
Melbye said teams worry when Cabell comes up to the plate.
“She draws more walks than any player I’ve ever seen,” she said. “People are intimidated by Madison Cabell.”
They also have to be cautious about hitting toward her.
“Third base can be very intimidating because you have got to know how to play the small ball, how to play bunts and provide coverage,” Melbye said. “She and her sister used to battle it out to see who could have the fewest errors. We used to call them Cabell corners.”
This stat sheet has won her a lot of awards. Freshman year, she made the second all-district team. During sophomore and junior years, she was the district player of the year, and also received honorable mention for the all-state team. She’s also got several team awards.
“It is nice to get awards and all, but I’m still more about the team,” Cabell said. “That’s all I’m really worried about this year, is how the team does.”
Melbye said losing Cabell is going to be particularly tough for her.
“I’m very excited to see any of my players go play somewhere, but it’s also bittersweet to see her leave,” she said. “The thing about Madison is that she and Kaylee Edwards were the first two freshmen that I’ve taken up through the program. They’ve been with me for a long time.”
Ever since she was 8, Cabell also played travel ball, starting playing with her sister on the Hornets, a 12U team. She played for the Wildfire, the Galaxy, and now the Legends out of Virginia Beach.
“It’s crazy,” Cabell said, adding that California is the furthest place she has traveled. “You are basically living in airports. Travel ball is a almost like college. You play 2-3 games a day, but you have time to see the places you go. You get to see a different world.”
When not playing softball, Cabell said she loves to fish and hunt. She recently enjoyed it being turkey season.
After she graduates from St. Francis with a degree in criminal justice, she wants to join the Virginia State Police and eventually work up to the K-9 unit.
“It’s probably in my blood,” Cabell said about wanting to be in law enforcement. “Like on the softball field, where I’m more about the team; well, out in the public, I always want to help others.
“My brother is a fireman, and my sister is a nurse. That’s what we’re all about, helping others.”
Cabell also credits her parents, Beth and Steve Cabell, for where she is now.
“My family really kept me going,” she said. “They were always behind me.
“They are the ones who pretty much kept me in it. And it has gotten me to a far place now.”
Of that far place, Cabell said she’s enjoyed the ride that softball has given her and is looking forward to the future.
“I always knew I had talent with softball,” she said. “Ever since I was little, there was just something about playing softball that I knew I could go somewhere with this sport.
“And now that it’s happening for me, I couldn’t be any happier.”