WIND POINT — She plays the piano and strums an acoustic guitar.
She loves her makeup.
She favors black and almost always chooses at least one article of clothing of that color.
She is considering designing video games for a career.
And, oh, there’s something else. Lizzy May plays high school baseball.
That’s right, baseball.
The Prairie School sophomore could be playing soccer for one of the most respected girls programs in Southeastern Wisconsin. The only thing is, she confesses to not knowing very much about soccer and professes a deep love for baseball.
So why not? Her Uncle Ben is a Major League umpire and her father, Tony, is a passionate Brewers fan who got her interested in baseball at a young age. Why can’t Lizzy, a rabid Christian Yelich fan, also get her baseball fix?
May started at shortstop for the St. Catherine’s softball team as a freshman and then transferred to Prairie, which does not offer that sport. But even if it did, she makes not apologies for preferring baseball.
“It really came from my dad,” May said. “He always has been pretty passionate about not only watching, but playing baseball. he encouraged my older brother (Sam) to play. I wanted to be like him, of course, so I decided I was going to try and play it, too.”
May, who is playing on the junior varsity of the Racine Lutheran-Prairie co-op program, pitches and plays the outfield. She doesn’t have a hit yet in limited action, but has hit a shot that just went foul and has held her own in limited stints as a pitcher.
She doesn’t consider herself a novelty, nor does she consider herself anything special, based on this exchange.
“Do you have a particular pitch you like to throw?”
“I throw an occasional change-up.”
“Does it work?”
“So you’re trying pretty much to just get the ball over the plate?”
“More or less.”
But don’t be thrown off by what might appear to be indifferent replies. This is someone who takes herself very seriously as a baseball player.
“I’ll go into the fitness center up here and there’s a hard-core group of baseball players, basketball players, soccer players who get in their workouts, even before practice,” Lutheran-Prairie coach Jeff Wilson said. “And she’s among those who will get in an hour workout before baseball practice.
“And her workout would probably do me in. She’s tough. And she’s an athlete.”
Here’s something else that underscores her credibility: She played three years in the Old-Timers Football League, where she saw time at wide receiver, defensive and offensive line and center. And May played without fear, even though she’s only 5-foot-3 and 120 pounds as a sophomore.
After May transferred to Prairie, she started on the JV volleyball team and was a varsity reserve in basketball. As spring approached, her parents, Tony and Cheryl, were hoping she would try soccer as so many female athletes at Prairie play in the spring.
No such luck.
“They definitely wanted me to play soccer at first,” she said. “But I told them I wanted to play baseball. At first, they didn’t seem so keen on the idea because it’s a whole team of boys and you don’t know what’s going to happen, of course.
“But I think they were OK with it after awhile because I was really passionate about it and I told them that I really, really wanted to play. So they let me.”
The awkwardness of being the only girl on her team has gradually faded and her teammates now accept her as one of them. A little comic relief comes when that smallish player wearing No. 13 enters a game.
“When I have gone out to pitch, to warm up, I have heard a few snickers and things from the dugout,” she said. “They’re like, ‘Wait a second! Is this really happening?’ “
Yes, it is really happening. And May hardly diminishes the credibility of a game when she pitches.
“I pitch strikes and the batter hits it, but my team’s able to field it really quick,” she said. “Like it’s either a pop fly or a nice ground ball to the second baseman and an easy throw to first.
“I trust them with my life to make that.”
It appears that May is in baseball for the long haul at Prairie. Can Wilson realistically see her reaching the varsity team? Absolutely.
“If you learn to read pitchers and you if become a good base runner, you can become an asset to varsity baseball,” Wilson said. “Baseball is a five-tool sport and you don’t have to have all five tools. If you can do one or two of them well, you can help out a team in some way.
“There are a number of ways to help the team so, yeah, I could see her becoming a part of the varsity if she keeps working at it,”