The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Sports

May 2, 2012

Lekkis come full circle

BUFFALO — In the spring of 2009, two happy-go-lucky Niagara-Wheatfield graduates apprehensively approached Bengal Field at Buffalo State College.

Eager to begin new chapters in their softball careers, twins Kaylee and Kyrstin Lekki took the field together, side by side, just as they had throughout their entire lives.

This weekend, those careers of the Lekki twins will come full circle, as the longtime teammates and lifelong sisters prepare to conclude their time in orange and black, together — the same way it all began.

“It definitely has not hit me yet,” Kaylee said, reflecting on her four years as a Bengal.

The Lekkis grew up in North Tonawanda, each a standout for the Falcons during high school, before heading to Buffalo State.

Over the years, Kyrstin and Kaylee have each settled into crucial roles for the Bengals. While both girls have enjoyed success, they’ve each taken different paths to do so.

Kyrstin has been an offensive force for the team. Her 31 career home runs are second to only Deanna Hunt on the Bengals’ all-time list. This season, she leads the team with a .461 batting average, eight home runs and a career-high 39 RBIs. Her 20 doubles this season set a new single-season school record.

“Kyrstin as a softball player, she’s one of a kind,” coach Marie Curran said. “You don’t get those gifts and that level of focus around very often. I’m really glad for her that she’s going to go out on a great note her senior year and she’s going to show everybody who Kyrstin Lekki is.”

While Kaylee’s on-field accomplishments fall short of her sister’s, her role as team leader and pace setter has made an equal, if not greater, impact to Kyrstin’s bat.

Kaylee’s bubbly personality and positive attitude are what the Bengals turn toward to lift their spirits when they’re down. When longtime coach Sandy Hollander passed away in April, Kaylee was at her best, serving as the glue that kept the Bengals together and their chins held high.

“Being a role player her whole career, Kaylee’s really stepped up and showed the team that you have to do what matters the most for the group of people you are with,” Curran said. “You take that role, you embrace it and you move forward. Kaylee took it and ran with it. She took our team to the next level.”

Kaylee’s versatility combined with Kyrstin’s talent have allowed the Bengals to endure much success with the duo in the lineup. In their four seasons with the team, Buffalo State has gone a combined 91-73, missing the SUNYAC playoffs just once. In their freshman year, the Lekkis helped the the Bengals to the program’s fourth SUNYAC title and a berth in the NCAA regional playoffs.

The success they’ve had throughout their careers is something Kaylee and Kyrstin say they could have never achieved without the other by their side.

“People say, ‘Oh, you guys are always together.’ Well, we work together, we go to school together, we play softball together, we share a car. We have no choice!” Kaylee joked. “I don’t know what I would do if she wasn’t here.”

“Honestly, it’s just like we don’t know any different,” Kyrstin added. “We don’t know what it’s like for the other one not to be there. Everyone always asks us ‘Do you like to be a twin?’ I don’t know what it’s like not to be, so I can’t answer that question for you.”

For anyone who has witnessed the Lekki twins play, they immediately take notice of their energetic approach to the game of softball. That, Curran said, is what has made all the difference for the Bengals.

“Their energy, the passion for the game they bring and their love for Buffalo State College is why they make such great leaders,” she said. “Their love of softball is second to none.”

Last year, the Bengals fell just shy of winning their fifth SUNYAC championship. After stumbling into the postseason with an 18-21 record, the fifth-seeded underdogs came close to upsetting a top-seeded Cortland team.

This year, the Lekkis and the fourth-seeded Bengals head to Cortland again tonight, as they open their double-elimination playoff tournament against No. 3 Geneseo. Both Kyrstin and Kaylee each agreed the best way to conclude their careers will be to win another SUNYAC championship. Looking back on the past four years, though, they’re already satisfied with a long career. The only knock, they said, was that it simply wasn’t long enough.

“It went by too fast,” Kaylee said.

“Yeah, I was going to say that, too!” Kyrstin said, interrupting her sister. “These are memories you’re never going to get back. I loved the school, I loved everything. Going together was a great choice.”

But Curran said having two players like Kyrstin and Kaylee at Buffalo State, together, is something that makes the program very lucky.

“They’re two kids you can’t replace,” she said. “With Kaylee’s personality and perseverance and Kyrstin, softball-ability wise, leadership wise and what she’s brought to the program these past four years, the two of them will be sorely missed.

“They’ll always be the Lekki twins.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Medina CSAT postponed Medina-CSAT boys basketball postponed

    For the second time in less than a month, the Medina at CSAT boys basketball contest has been postponed due to inclement weather across the region. Mustang coach Tom Forrestel said it's the first time he can recall this type of double postponement, in his decade-plus of experience at the Medina helm.

    January 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • med ymca art 010314 Avanti's wins YMCA floor hockey league

    Avanti's stormed through the regular season and playoffs — capped off by a 6-3 victory over Team RamRod in the championship game — to capture this season's Adult Floor Hockey league championship at the Orleans County YMCA in Medina.

    January 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • med swimming art 122013 Roy-Hart boys swimming blasts Medina to remain unbeaten

    The Roy-Hart boys swim team stretched its unbeaten streak to 106 meets on Thursday, with a convincing victory over league rival Medina. The Roy-Hart girls also cruised past the Lady Mustangs, while Barker boys and girls swept Akron.

    December 19, 2013 2 Photos

  • med wrestling art 122013 Mustang grapplers fall at Akron, 60-18

    The Medina wrestling team performed admirably in contested matches, but couldn't overcome five forfeits in a league loss at Akron on Wednesday. Also in the N-O league, Newfane beat Albion handily, and Barker/Roy-Hart upended Wilson to give rookie coach Keith Jones his first league win.

    December 19, 2013 1 Photo

  • med ymca art 122013 Orleans County YMCA Happenings

    Here's what's going on this week at the Orleans County YMCA, with results and analysis courtesy of the Y staff.

    December 19, 2013 1 Photo

  • med bb art 2 121813 Medina loses nail-biter at Newfane

    The Medina boys basketball team battled back in the second half but fell in its league opener to Newfane, 65-60. Munjie Brown scored 20 points for Medina in the loss. Elsewhere in the league, Albion fell to CSAT, and Roy-Hart lost a non-league contest at Tapestry.

    December 18, 2013 2 Photos

  • Medina falls in league opener vs. Newfane

    The Medina girls basketball team opened its league slate with a 49-30 loss to Newfane on Tuesday, despite a strong nine-point effort from freshman Molley Gross. Elsewhere in the N-O league, Albion edged CSAT, and Akron blasted Roy-Hart.

    December 18, 2013

  • med swimming art 121813 Medina rolls past Akron

    It was a successful swimming day for Medina on Tuesday, as the boys and girls teams both edged Akron. Elsewhere in high school swimming, Barker swept Albion, while Roy-Hart split at Newfane. All the results, here.

    December 18, 2013 1 Photo

  • med wrestling art 2 121613 Barker/Roy-Hart wrestling team places third at OP Tournament

    The Barker/Roy-Hart wrestling team fared well at the Orchard Park Tournament on Saturday afternoon, placing third overall of nine teams. Medina wrestling also had a strong showing, at the Batavia Tournament, and Lyndonville placed third of 12 teams at the Attica Tournament.

    December 15, 2013 2 Photos

  • Bills earn road victory at Jaguars, 27-20

    EJ Manuel played well, the defense forced four turnovers, and the Buffalo Bills earned a road victory over Jacksonville on Sunday by a 27-20 margin. The Bills improve to 5-9 on the season, but are officially eliminated from playoff contention for the 14th consecutive year, after Miami defeated New England early in the afternoon.

    December 15, 2013

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
Magazines
Seasonal Content
Photo of the Day