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Outfield overdrive: Makailah Dees ‘fields’ success in her senior softball season

Makailah+Dees+takes+a+swing
Drake Harlett
Makailah Dees takes a swing

Many people dream of moving from the cornfields to the coast, but senior Makailah Dees did just the opposite.

Dees, a senior softball player and communications disorders major, has run the outfield since her freshman year at Bowling Green State University [BGSU].

The Rancho Santa Margarita, California native started her first collegiate softball season in Spring 2021, making a safe landing in the Falcon nest with her older sister, Sammy, already on the team.

“For her to be here already, it was an easy transition,” said Dees.

She said softball shaped the person and the athlete that she has become. Softball Head Coach, Candace Fenton-Bockbrader, praised the positivity of her senior starter.

“She is just a great teammate,” said Fenton-Bockbrader. “Whether she’s in the lineup or not, she’s having the best time and cheering on her teammates.”

Dees said Fenton-Bockbrader has been nothing but supportive of the close-knit team they have and regularly tells the girls they ‘can do hard things,’ even when they don’t feel like it.

Fenton-Bockbrader emphasized Dees’ teamwork and the skill she brings to the team.

“She has the strongest arm in the outfield,” said Fenton-Bockbrader. “That’s a kid that without a doubt will throw a runner out no matter where they are.”

Dees said student-athlete life isn’t easy all of the time and mentioned mental fog occasionally comes with the routine.

“Mental blocks can be found anywhere… academics, sports, or agility,” she said. “It gets hard sometimes, but if you push yourself then you’re capable of doing anything.”

When Dees feels the mental block coming on, she said she takes a step back by taking walks around BG, watching the sunset on the infamous campus hill, or having painting nights with her friends.

“I’ve built a family here,” she said. “It’s a small-town feeling and the community is really great.”

On the flip side, her Ohio routine differs from her California lifestyle which fosters different hobbies.

“I do go to the beach quite a bit and watch the sunset, or go on drives down Pacific Coast Highway,” Dees said. “I love getting a tan, and that’s something I do miss.”

Before Dees heads back to California following graduation, she is running all the bases the ongoing season has to offer. However, the softball world won’t be in her rearview mirror.

“I want to give back to the game because it has given me so much,” she said. “I want to look into more opportunities of possibly still playing or coaching.”

Dees said she wants to live as presently as possible, enjoying every opportunity to cheer on her team,  before her last season flies out of left field.

Having spent her whole college career on the team, and said she’s not worried about ‘passing the ball’ to her newest teammates.

“We have a lot of new faces and they’ve brought a lot of good stuff to the team,” said Dees. “I can see them succeeding throughout this season.”

Until the official transfer of leadership, she said she is optimistic about the remainder of the season and looks back on what softball offered her during collegiate play.

“I’m excited for this season and what this new team will do,” said Dees. “It [softball] has taught me a lot. Without it, I wouldn’t know how to compete the way that I do.”

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