BY JIM COTTER
Every once in a while there emerges an athlete that exemplifies success on and off the playing field.
One such player that fits this description is Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman junior softball player Brittany Hay, who is the 2013 Commercial-News Softball Player of the Year. Hay also won the award as a sophomore in 2012.
Hay, who considers herself an energetic person, summed up her style of play by simply saying “I’m just hungry all the time, and ready to go with lots of energy.”
Buffaloes’ coach Stefanie Davis, who was an assistant for the past couple of seasons, knows what kind of a person Hay is on the field.
“Brittany has been very inspiring, and I see the passion and drive in everything that she does. She sets the bar really high for her teammates and exhibits leadership on the field,” Davis said.
Hay, who plays summer travel softball for the Danville-based ECI Dynamite, knows that putting in the extra time during the offseason will pay off in the long run.
“When you play travel ball, you generally have more experiences that what you do just playing high school ball,” Hay said.
The 18U ECI Dynamite team just finished capturing the NSA State Tournament in Kankakee last weekend.
Davis also thinks that the extra time that Hay puts in during the summer playing travel ball really enhances her caliber of play.
“It is an entirely different level of talent on the travel circuit, and Brittany broadens her game by playing different positions for ECI,” Davis said.
Even though Hay’s favorite baseball player is Albert Pujols, she does, however, craft her game after a softball player that has had quite a bit of success herself.
“I think the player that I look up to the most is Keilani Ricketts, who plays for the University of Oklahoma. I like the way that she is always focused and has a great attitude,” Hay said.
The Buffaloes, who slipped to 16-7 in 2013 after going 21-4 in 2012, stumbled in the regional after having some success in the Vermillion Valley Conference.
Not to be outdone by her season stats in 2012, Hay improved in every category in 2013, batting .603 with 6 home runs and 33 runs batted in. She scored 39 runs on the season, and was a threat on the bases as well, stealing 45 bases.
The average and stolen base marks were school records at Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman, which begs the question if Hay can further entrench herself in the Buffaloes’ record book.
Hay cites many people in her life that have influenced her and made her the person that she is today, most notably ECI founder and program director Randy Skaggs, who actually was her coach during her freshman year when she played at Schlarman.
“Randy is a great person and teaches the aspects of life,” Hay said of her former coach.
Hay also gave credit to her mother, who “has been there through all of my travel seasons and has gotten me to the games.”
As far as what the future holds for Hay, she still has her senior season at Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman, but that doesn’t mean that the colleges haven’t been contacting her.
“I’ve been contacted by a few junior colleges and a couple of Division II and III schools, but my plan is to probably start out at a juco and then maybe transfer to a Division I program,” Hay said. “As far as potential, I have a lot to learn yet, and my senior season will be focused on getting better.”