Freshman Lexi Atcitty ready to represent Navajo Nation for BYU Softball
BYU pitcher Lexi Atcitty made her college softball debut at the Cougars Blue and White Scrimmage on Oct. 17, 2020.
When a Facebook group devoted to Native American athletics posted about Atcitty’s first appearance in a BYU uniform, an unexpected flood of support came in the form of 12,000 likes and hundreds of comments and shares.
“I feel a lot of love from it,” Atcitty said. “And I feel a sense of responsibility to make my people on the reservation proud.”
The walk-on freshman is the first Division I athlete from her family and she is looking forward to representing her faith, family and Navajo heritage.
“She’s the first one to break through,” Atcitty’s father Leon said. “It’s a big deal for her cousins and it’s a big deal for her extended family members so that they can start seeing and dreaming that they can do this as well.”
Atcitty knew she wanted to be a softball player even as a kid. Though her father played basketball, he gave her the option to play whatever sport she wanted, and the softball field is where she ended up.
“Softball was my love ever since tee-ball growing up,” Atcitty said. “I was able to get on a competitive team when I was nine or ten, and then I just stuck with it.”
Her father, a BYU alumnus himself, signed her up with BYU pitching coach Paige Affleck early on, and Atcitty has been motivated to come play for BYU ever since.
The global pandemic canceled her senior year of softball, and she feared that her chance to play at BYU would be lost. But she knew if she kept her grades up and got accepted, she would be able to walk on at BYU and show off her talent.
“My dad always taught me if you work hard in school and on the field, everything will work out,” Atcitty said. “Do all you can and the Lord will do the rest.”
Just months later, she secured a spot on the team as a pitcher. With her teammates and coaching staff surrounding her, Atcitty is excited to see what the team can accomplish.
She hopes that through her career success, she can return to Native American reservations and help the children to have more hopeful futures. Her grandmother currently teaches elementary school at a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, and Atcitty has even visited once before to teach the girls there about some fundamentals of softball.
“I’m super proud of the way she represents herself,” Leon said. “Not only as a Native American or an athlete but also as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Atcitty sees this opportunity at BYU to not only share her love of the sport but to share her beliefs with other Native Americans.
“I’ve always known I wanted to share the gospel and be a representative of Jesus Christ,” Atcitty said. “I feel like this opportunity to play for BYU allows me to do that.”
While no games are currently on BYU’s schedule, Atcitty can be seen in more intrasquad scrimmages this fall on the BYUtv app.