By Ryan Massad, Contributing Writer
School: Hudson High
Coach: Mary Beth Ryan
Notable stats: Led the Midland B conference in hitting with a .500 batting average and 37 runs batted in.
What are your earliest softball related memories?
“I remember being on a team for recreational softball when I was 8 years old with Jurnee Ware, who was 11 at the time, and I looked up to her so much. She was probably the best softball player I had ever seen at that time. I would watch her play, and just hoped that if I worked hard enough, I could be like that one day and maybe have some other girl look at me the same way.”
Which family member encouraged you to get into softball?
“My dad encouraged me to get into softball. Starting when I was about three years old, he would take me out in the yard and throw the ball around with me. As soon as I was old enough to play softball for the town, he signed me up. He’s been my coach and one of my biggest influences ever since.”
You’re a junior now, but what were the first two seasons like playing for Hudson High?
“When I was a freshman starting on varsity, my team went 19-1 on the season. We were undefeated until the 18th game. I was playing with the most talented group of girls I had ever played with, and I grew and learned so much as a player that year. We ended up losing the second game in the playoffs, but that was the best season of softball I have ever played and I will never forget what it was like to be on a team that was that good.”
What has been the single-most special game of your young softball career?
“The most special game I have played in was the first championship game the Hudson Demolition AAU team played in when I was 14 years old. I had been playing with the same group of girls, all of whom were my best friends, some of the greatest people I have ever known, since we were 9 and 10 years old. We were not the strongest team starting out, but we worked hard through the years and finally won a tournament. It was the best feeling to share that victory with that group of girls.”
What would you consider to be the best part of your individual game?
“The best part of my individual game is my offense. I would consider myself a very strong hitter and I work hard to get better every day. I go the batting cages a lot, and work with my hitting coaches to improve my game.
What has it been like playing for Coach Ryan?
“I can honestly say that she is best coach I have ever had. She is one of my biggest influences both on and off the field. She genuinely cares about me and all of the girls she coaches. I have had the privilege of playing for her since I was in 8th grade. She got the varsity position when I was a freshman, so this is my fourth straight year playing for her. Hudson is lucky to have her as a coach. I have learned so much from her, not just about how to be a good player, but how to be a good person. If I could influence just one person someday the way that she has influenced me, I will feel like I have really accomplished something.”
What kind of legacy would you like to leave behind at Hudson High?
“I would like people to remember me as the player who loved the game so much that she overcame one of the greatest obstacles to be able to play. I had major reconstructive surgery on my right shoulder in the September of my sophomore year. After talking to the doctors about the recovery time and the magnitude of my surgery, I realized the only way I would be able to play would be to teach myself to throw left-handed, so that’s what I did. I made the All-Conference team last year as a new left handed player, made the Polar Crush Gold National team last summer, and am still throwing left handed to this day.”