Madison Preston Thrives In Motherhood, Softball At Texas A&M
Throughout Division I softball teams around the country, players have a variety of commitments beyond their studies and athletic participation—those may involve research in a lab or a job at a local business. But Texas A&M pitcher Madison Preston’s off-the-field commitment is different.
In addition to starring in the circle for the No. 22 Aggies, Preston is also a mother. After playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide and Arizona State Sun Devils, the Centralia, Mo. native gave birth to a daughter named Kendri in July 2021.
After Kendri’s birth, Preston never expected to get back into the game she loves.
“After I stopped playing, I honestly thought I was done,” the former Missouri Gatorade Softball Player of the Year said. “I (thought it was) time to move on and retire. Hang the cleats up, move on to something else.”
But a year and a half after retiring from softball, Preston felt she was missing something very important in her life.
“I had gone back and forth (about returning to softball),” Preston said. “And one of my friends is the one that encouraged me.”
As a result, Preston reached out to her former coach from her time at Arizona State, Trisha Ford. Ford and the rest of the staff in College Station have welcomed the unique super senior to the Aggies' softball family.
“I really have support all around,” Preston said. “Whether it comes from my family, my friends, the coaches (or) my teammates.”
But Preston attributes her ability to even get back on the field at this moment in her life to her own mother.
“Definitely who made this possible I feel like was my mom,” Preston reflected. “I pretty much told her that if I was going to come do this that I needed her to come with me because I needed someone to watch Kendri while I was at practice. And so not only was I kind of stopped in my life, my career, all of that, but I was also asking her to stop her life and come down here with me. And she ended up saying yes, and she's down here the majority of the time with me.”
After not pitching since March 8, 2020, Preston is back to dominating in the college softball circle this season.
She currently boasts a 4-1 record and a 1.86 ERA in 37.2 innings pitched and picked up the win in Texas A&M's upset victory over No. 3 Tennessee.
Kendri’s birth has given Preston a new appreciation for the seemingly mundane.
“I usually can't wait to go to practice and my bullpens because I feel like that's my time to just take a step away from my normal life,” Preston said. “Honestly, softball has never been this fun for me before because I feel like this is really like my break from being a mom. I get to go have fun and play softball and learn new things and get better.”
And while Kendri won’t remember much from this time in her mother’s life, Preston hopes that her legacy of playing college softball at the highest level while also raising a child will teach her daughter that she can do anything she sets her mind to.
“I hope that she just learns that really you can do anything,” Preston said. “And it doesn't matter what other people say and it doesn't really matter who believes in you and who doesn't and who's against you. If you want to do it, you can do it. You just have to put your mind to it, really.”