SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — It was well past a vampire bat’s bed time.
But there was Shawnee’s Britt Lauck out playing softball.
Lauck remembers playing in a summer travel softball tournament that didn’t end until close to 5 a.m.
Asked if that was one reason she’s not playing softball in college, she just smiled.
“I might have played a little too much,” Lauck said with a laugh.
The senior is a three-sport standout, who made first team All-Western Buckeye League in soccer, basketball and softball. Her sophomore year she was second team All-Ohio in softball, while last year she was first team All-Ohio.
In all, Lauck has earned 11 varsity letters.
Lauck, wearing a Polar Bears’ black T-shirt, announced on Wednesday she would play basketball at Ohio Northern next year.
Lauck hardly remembers a time when she wasn’t involved in at least one sport. A few of her earliest memories involve her dad (Chad), her sister (Brooke) and a ball of some sort.
“My dad and my sister would always throw in the backyard, and I would jump in an try,” Lauck said.
Lauck grew up with softball as her No. 1 sport. By 11 years old, she was playing travel summer ball. Often there were years in which she would play more than 70 games in a summer.
“One national tournament we played up until five in the morning, non-stop because we kept winning and it was elimination,” Lauck said. “We played all night long.”
Lauck began to favor basketball over softball her junior basketball season at Shawnee. She went from an off-the-bench player to a key contributor.
“I was an important player (as a junior) and I realized I was better than I thought,” Lauck said. “Then, I wanted to be better at it.”
This season the 5-foot-7 guard averaged 15 points per game and was named to The Lima News Dream Team. But softball was still on her mind, as she was being heavily recruited by a number of schools, including the University of Northwestern Ohio.
“I was still unsure halfway through this season what I was going to do and I was thinking of playing two sports, then the ONU (basketball) coach came to my games,” Lauck. “I went to visit Ohio Northern in the middle of basketball and I really liked it and liked the engineering program. It seemed like the right place.”
Then she started watching the ONU women’s basketball team that went on to the NCAA Division III tournament.
“The more I watched them play, the more I wanted to be out there with him,” Lauck said. … “And I wasn’t ready for basketball to end. I was only a key player for two years. I wanted to keep going. I feel like there’s more to come.
“Basketball was my most fun to play. It wasn’t always my best, but now I think it can be.”
Lauck could have easily played college soccer or college softball. Her softball career started as a shortstop/pitcher in the sixth grade, but by the seventh grade she volunteered to catch.
“I asked to be the catcher and they said why?” Lauck said. “They told me you’re so little and so fast, but I said, ‘No, I want to catch.’ … My sister’s team had a catcher and she would catch bunts with one hand I thought that was so cool. I wanted to catch.”
By her freshman year, she was the Indians’ starting catcher. Even still, she had her critics.
“I would go to these summer tournaments and people would laugh,” she said. “I used to be so skinny and short.”
Two years later, she was an All-Ohio catcher.
As a sophomore, she led the area in hitting at .656. Last year she again led the area in hitting at .642. She had 11 doubles, five triples and 23 RBIs. She also scored 20 runs.
Lauck and All-Ohio shortstop Shelby Lucas have helped the Indians this spring to an 8-0 record, 1-0 in the Western Buckeye League.
Lauck hasn’t completely ruled out playing softball at ONU, but realizes that would be difficult while majoring in engineering.
And no matter how many softball games she’s played over the years, she knows it will be difficult to pack away her mask and shin guards for the final time.
“I think once I get farther into this season, it’ll hit me a little bit more that’s its my last season playing softball,” Lauck said.