Today kicks off the NCAA-mandated “No-Recruiting Contact” rules meaning a prospect cannot discuss recruiting with college coaches, but before that legislation began dozens of players committed to their schools of choice.
One of those was 2023 catcher Leah McAnally, a talented and highly coveted backstop who plays for the Gametime Stars 2022 SYD team.
In this article, you’ll hear from the several people in Leah’s life including the Gametime Stars recruiting director, her club coach, her parents and the athlete herself about her start in softball and how the tragic death of teammate Sydney Angle, a nine-year-old teammate who was one of 24 killed in the May 2013 Moore, Oklahoma tornado, impacted her and began her love for Sooners’ softball.
Scott Smith – Gametime Stars Recruiting Coordinator, Head Coach of 16U 2020 GOLD Team
Gametime has a great history with players in the University of Oklahoma softball program: currently there are three of our alumni on the roster in Caleigh Clifton, Raegan Rogers and Lindsey Elam. We also have former pitcher Jadyn Chestnut now at OKC University. We are truly honored and now we are able to keep it going with another great athlete Leah Mac!
Leah is one the hardest working young ladies I have seen. Day in and day out she is in the gym with our Strength Trainer Coach Brown and is always working and striding to be her best.
Remember her name—she will play and be a difference maker!
Landon McNeill – Head Coach of Gametime Stars 2022 Gold SYD
Leah has played on our team since she was eight-years old. In 2013 Leah's teammate, Sydney, was tragically killed in a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. Leah like her teammates had to be extremely strong at the young age of just nine-years old!
Since that point Leah has always played for her fallen teammate. Since Day 1 of being with us, she has always been able to knock the leather off the ball. Leah has played pretty much every position on the field except pitcher (although at times she swears to me she can pitch too!).
When Leah was 10 she started to work at catcher, mainly because she was tough enough to handle it. Leah has worked so hard at becoming one of the premiere catchers in her class. The kid blocks very well along with her framing, but the biggest thing that sticks out for Leah behind the dish is the way she commands respect from runners on either getting too far off the base or trying to steal.
Leah is one of those players who is always able to stand up and stand out no matter the competition. As of late, Leah had been working hard at being able to call the game herself with her pitchers.
I haven't seen a kid yet that puts in the time and work that she does, no matter if it’s catching, hitting or speed and agility with her team trainers or on her own with her dad.
We are so proud of Leah Mac and I know this kid will never stop working!
Alana and Jimmy McAnally – Parents
Our daughter Leah has literally lived at the softball field her entire life.
She started attending her older sister’s softball games when she was only a toddler and began playing t-ball when she was three. Even as a three-year old she was a serious ball player who wanted to win.
Leah always loved the game and would practice extra so she could be as good as her older sisters. Leah joined Coach Landon McNeil’s team in 2011 and was completely pumped to be a Bring It softball player.
In the Spring of 2013, Leah lost her teammate Sydney to the Moore tornado and as an eight-year old went through a very difficult time. During this time not only did Leah bond with her own team, but she also bonded with the 2013 Oklahoma softball team.
I still remember Coach Gasso having Leah’s team come out to the games and then after OU played, all the softball players would eat and play with the girls.
During such a hard time OU softball was a bright light for Leah.
Leah was actually at the game when OU won the 2013 National Championship and Leah was determined from that moment on to play college ball where she felt she could make a difference. Leah has played on the same team for the same coach since 2011, although a couple of years ago the team joined the Gametime organization.
Moving to the Gametime organization was perfect for Leah because it provided her with a personal training coach as well as an opportunity to receive lessons from some of the best prior college softball players in the nation.
Leah has been dedicated to playing at a higher level for years and has put in countless hours of training on top of what is required by her team.
In the fall of 2017 Leah attended an Oklahoma softball camp and left determined that this was the place she wanted to play college ball. She loved the coaching staff and thrived off their instruction.
Leah also loved the campus and everything about the Sooner life. Once Leah was actually able to perform in front of the coaches she began working extra hard in all her free time to become an even better catcher and hitter.
As her parents we only wanted what was best for Leah and as we visited other school softball programs in the Big 12 and the SEC we all, especially Leah, felt like OU was home.
We feel incredibly blessed that we are the parents of such an amazing, smart, young woman. We thank God for her ability to play the sport she loves and we absolutely love watching her do her thing behind home plate, and love to see her hit those bombs over the fence.
We are excited that our daughter is sticking with the family tradition and playing for her mother’s alma mater. BOOMER SOONER!
Leah McAnally – Verbal to Oklahoma
I chose The University of Oklahoma mostly because it feels like home. From the first time I toured OU I knew this was a place that I would fit in and get an amazing education.
I have always desired to play softball at the highest level, and how much higher could I dream of than going to the back-to-back National Championship team?
I really first developed my love of OU softball when they rallied around my team in 2013 when a fellow teammate tragically passed away in the Moore tornado.
My passion for OU softball grew out of the team’s determination to win the national championship title while wearing Sydney’s number #35 on their helmets. I decided then that I wanted to play for a team where I could use my athletic ability as a platform for a greater good.
Playing for OU and their outstanding coaching team was always a dream, but I never thought it would happen for me. God has truly blessed me to allow me the opportunity to be a part of something so great with such great leadership and role models.
I will continue working hard every day until I step onto the field to play for OU and then continue working hard to be part of an amazing legacy.