Softball team changes pitcher's life in Show-Me State Games

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COLUMBIA - Lindsey Strohbeck steps on the mound to throw a lightning speed pitch at this weekend's Show-Me State Games. Her team, the USSSA Pride Heat softball team is defending their gold medal from last year's tournament.

But before Strohbeck joined Pride Heat, she said she no longer wanted to live because bullying in high school got so bad.

One day when her father came home from work, he found out that her daughter had made an attempt attempt at suicide. 

"Every time I felt down on myself, man I just want to end my life, the one thing I thought was softball," Strohbeck said.

It was this team that changed her life. 

"They brought our part of me that I didn't know I had in me."

Head coach Leon Abernathy has been coaching this team for three years. He said he hears of bullying issues a lot with girls, and it's often from the people you least expect.

"I mean it's crazy, it needs to stop. You think that it wouldn't happen in softball, but it does. I think we should bring it out in the light and do something about it," Abernathy said.

That is exactly what the four coaches did. They started a tournament called Players Against Bullying with the funds benefiting the anti-bullying cause. This year's inaugural tournament attracted 48 teams.

"Bullying is just wrong, like I don't know why they think it makes them feel better to pick on people," Strohbeck said.

For others struggling with bullying issues, she said to never give up.

"Think of the one thing that you love most. Like with me its softball. That of that. Now think of all the accomplishments you can go further with that one thing you love."

The team didn't take gold this weekend, but Pride Heat will be playing in the USSSA 16-U World Series on July 28. Strohbeck and the team catcher were also selected to play for the all-star team.

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