Mathis’ miles lead to title

Bear River softball star wins ASA national title with Lady Magic
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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There was no beginner’s luck involved in the Lady Magic’s run to the American Softball Association 16-and-under national championship last week. Katie Mathis has been playing for the Lady Magic since she was 9. The Bear River High junior-to-be made it to the national tournament five times before winning it all. The Lady Magic beat the St. Louis Chaos 13-5 last week in Owensboro, Ky. to win the Class A national title. “It felt really good,” Mathis said. Mathis and her parents Sue and Michael certainly paid their dues on the way to winning the title. During ASA softball season, Sue, who works in Sacramento, would return to the Mathis home six miles north of Lake of the Pines, pick up Katie and take her to Elk Grove, where the Lady Magic practice for four hours several days a week. Katie said the taxing commute is well worth it. The second baseman has played with six of her teammates for six years. The team annually plays in some of the top tournaments in the country. This fall, she’ll join the Lady Magic 18 Gold team and play in college showcase events all over the state. Five of her Lady Magic teammates have already committed to Division I college scholarships and Mathis may not be far behind. She said San Diego State and Rutgers have recruited her heavily along with several other schools. “I’m waiting,” said Mathis, whose Bear River teammate Courtney Ceo recently committed to Oregon. “I don’t feel any pressure to commit to a college yet even though a lot of my teammates have already.” Mathis used to play competitive soccer, but she chose to commit to softball at age 10, following in the footsteps of her oldest sister Michelle. Michelle Mathis was a star at Bear River before going on to a stellar career at St. Mary’s College in Moraga. Meanwhile Nikki Mathis, Katie’s other sister, is a junior on the soccer team at Biola University in La Mirada. “We have a really athletic family,” Katie said. “(Michelle) would always come home from softball practice and teach me everything she had learned so she really helped me.” Mathis and Ceo have anchored the middle infield at Bear River for the past two seasons, helping the Bruins to back-to-back Sac-Joaquin Section Div. IV championships. Add in the national title this summer and 2008 is going to be tough to top in terms of softball accomplishments. “It’s definitely going to be hard,” Mathis said. “We’re losing six seniors, so we’ll have a whole new team at Bear River. In ASA, we’re moving up to 18 Gold, which is the highest level of ASA.” Count on Mathis to rise to the challenge. Even with her torrid softball schedule, Mathis maintains an unblemished 4.0 grade point average. She’s also volunteers at Auburn Faith Hospital and the Nevada County Library. The ultimate reward for her hard work and talent is a college scholarship, but winning national championships and section titles helps make the journey worthwhile. “Katie’s given up a lot, but the payoff is great,” Sue Mathis said. “It’s definitely worth it.”