EDWARDSVILLE - Edwardsville girls softball infielder-outfielder Lexi Gorniak is considered one of the best players on a talented Tigers' team, and recently, signed a letter of intent to play at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Ark., starting with the 2022 season.

Gorniak, a senior on this year's Edwardsville team, will be playing for the Golden Suns, a member of the Great American Conference in NCAA Division-II, for head coach Kristina McSweeney, and felt right from the outset that Arkansas Tech was a great fit for her.

"I love the coaches," Gorniak said. "Immediately, when I got there, it just felt like at home, like, I would feel welcome there, and I really, really like the coaches."

Gorniak is looking to play at second base and possibly the outfield for the Suns, and her recruiting ran into problems, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. All in all, she's very happy that she chose Arkansas Tech.

"Originally, I was looking towards the (East) coast," Gorniak said, "but all those schools are D-I, but it just worked out right, and I am beyond glad that I chose Arkansas Tech. I love it."

Tigers head coach Lori Blade feels that Gorniak will bring many intangibles and a solid work ethic to Arkansas Tech.

"She's been a good program kid for us, being willing to go to different positions to play," Blade said. "doing whatever we needed her to do. Very willing to do that, very capable of playing multiple positions, good bat, good knowledge of the game and everything, and a good student. So academically, she'll fit in really good, too."

Blade feels that Gorniak's greatest strength is her dedication to softball, and her commitment as well.

"Probably her commitment to the game," Blade said. "Her offense and defense is good, she's gotten better every year, the progression, which is what you want to see with kids as they come through. She is awfully good offensively, and her understanding of the game is really good."

Blade also feels positive about what Gorniak will bring to the Suns as well, and thinks she's going to do well at Arkansas Tech.

"I think so, I think so," Blade said. "It's a good fit for her, and she's super excited for the opportunity, and that's what you hope for."

Gorniak plans on majoring in digital marketing, and hopes to become a manager for several companies, and also hopes to break into photography and videography. She feels that she'll bring leadership and a competitive spirit to her college team.

"I think that I'll be a big leader there," Gorniak said. "I really like the girls there. I think hitting wise, I mean I haven't met any of the other girls, or anything, but definitely a big leader there. And just like, out to win. I just like to compete," she said with a smile.

Like the other teams around the state, Gorniak was very disappointed that the 2020 spring season was cancelled because of the pandemic, as she was looking forward to playing with her teammates, especially the seniors

"I was so upset, because a lot of the seniors from that class, I was really, really close with," Gorniak said. "So, we never got to, like, end with that, so it just kind of (stunk), but it is what it is."

Gorniak also thanked all of the Tigers coaches for helping to develop her into the player she is today.

"They made me the player I am," Gorniak said, "and I couldn't have done it without them."

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