Dreams aren’t achieved by sitting around. Dreams come to life through dedication, passion and desire. This year’s All-RRV Newcomer of the Year and freshman catcher for the Chisum High School softball team, Hannah Ford, has long term goals with the sport, which is what drove her to perform the way she did in her first varsity season.
“My ultimate goal is to play college softball,” Hannah said. “I have a lot of support around me — my friends, family, teammates and coaches. Softball is the love of my life.”
Hannah finished the year as Chisum’s leader in every major statistical category on offense. She finished with a .438 batting average, 16 RBI, 10 runs and hit two home runs — including the only home run given up by the district MVP and Mt. Vernon pitcher Michayla Deleon. The home run off Deleon was a highlight for Hannah in her freshman year.
“I had two strikes on me — it seems like I hit all of my home runs with two strikes,” Hannah said. “We were down by a lot at this point, and I’m pretty sure the pitch was inside and low. I took it and pulled it almost all the way to the foul pole. I thought it was foul — I started running and I looked and stopped because I thought it was over the foul line — but I saw it go over and realized it wasn’t foul, so I kept on running.”
However, things weren’t always easy for Hannah at the plate. By her own admission, she went through a slump, but was able to dig her way out of it through refining her fundamentals.
“I went through a slump for a couple of games — I just wasn’t hitting the ball like I had been in the past,” Hannah said. “I got with my hitting coach and just worked on my consistency at the plate. I worked on where I needed to hit certain pitches, how to hit it and the timing. I just worked on all the basic mechanics to where I hit the ball the best I could.”
Recovering from a hitting slump takes a great amount of effort, and being a great softball player in general takes a lot of work, which is something Hannah doesn’t shy away from in any aspect of her life.
“I put in a lot of work,” Hannah said. “I play travel ball all throughout the year, I go to my hitting coach throughout the week, I practice on Sundays with my travel team, I watch videos at home and watch college softball — it all helps a lot. I’ve also been attending some college camps and playing in some college showcases with my travel softball team. I feel like those experiences will prepare me for next year and beyond that along with anything else I can do outside of school as well.”
Combined with her hard work, Hannah grew up on the field a great deal. Playing with a veteran team brought out her best both physically and mentally.
“I think I really gained some mental strength,” Hannah said. “You’re playing with really good girls who are older than you. It makes you mature mentally and puts the pressure on yourself to show up and prove that you belong.”
Hannah showed she belonged, especially in two key wins over Cooper this year. In both wins combined, she finished 4-for-7 from the plate with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. Hannah was a big reason why her team was able to sweep the Dogettes, which were two wins she is most proud of.
“We beat Cooper twice, and we thought would be one of the hardest teams we would play,” Hannah said. “We were able to beat them both times even though our goal originally was to split with them. We played two really good games against Cooper.”
Hannah nearly led Chisum to the postseason for the first time in years, but ultimately the team fell just short. However, Chisum’s improvement with Hannah on the team should not come as a surprise as the freshman was eagerly awaiting to make an impact, which she did in a big way through her grit, talent and drive.
“Hannah is a fierce competitor who no doubt loves the game of softball,” Chisum head softball coach Denise Holland said. “I’ve known her for a very long time, and she has been chomping at the bit for her high school career to begin. I am blessed to have the opportunity to see her grow, not only in softball, but as an individual as well. She is definitely someone I wouldn’t want to cross paths against on the diamond.”
What should be scary for her opponents is this is just the beginning as Holland sees unlimited potential in her young star catcher.
“I just had this talk with Hannah after our athletic banquet — she accomplished some major feats her freshman year,” Holland said. “It is something worth celebrating for sure, but raises the bar for her sophomore year and beyond. I assured her that her work is not done. I believe that Hannah is capable of reaching any goal she wants to achieve.”
Hannah knows she will need to continue to produce for her team. On top of that, though, she will certainly be called upon as a leader, a role she is willing to accept and is ready for.
“I think I’m ready because I’ve always been a leader on all the teams I’ve been on,” Hannah said. “I like holding that role, getting people pumped up, getting them excited to play and calling the plays out. I really enjoy being that person that can lift somebody up and tell them they’re going to be OK — I think I’m ready for it.”