Haley Strawn ended her prep career with flurry. After leading her Southmoore squad to the slow pitch championship game, the senior was selected to play in the All-State softball game Saturday.
Not wanting to see it come to an end, Strawn played the game as if it was the 6A title game all over again.
“It’s amazing,” Strawn said. “Something I’ve been looking forward to. I’m very pleased with the way I played. I didn’t want it end. Last high school slow pitch game that I have. I tried my best and tried to leave it all on the field.”
The most exciting play of the game came from Strawn in the bottom of the first inning. With the Large East leading 3-0 and searching for more runs when a batter clobbered a shot to centerfield. Strawn leaped over the fence and snagged the ball before it went out.
With the Large west winning 8-7, it’s easy to say that was the play of the game.
“Haley is a five tool kid,” Southmoore coach Jason Lingo said. “She is a great instinctive runner on the bases, she hits for a great average and hits for power as well. Haley has a great arm and can make any throw at all infield and outfield positions and she is without question the best instinctive outfielder I’ve ever had the chance to coach. Haley doesn’t have the top speed on the team if you put her in a straight line foot race, but nobody has a better sense of ball judgment and nobody gets a better jump than she does. That is the reason that she can get to so many more balls than other outfielders and makes a lot of those catches look easier than they should have been.”
Strawn will take her entire skill package with her to Cowley County College in Arkansas City, Kan. The Tigers are one of the premier junior college programs in the country. They lost to Highland in the championship game of the Region VI Tournament this past season.
Strawn is looking to parley her experience with the Tigers into a scholarship to a bigger school down the road
“It’s really exciting that I still get to play,” Strawn said. “Hopefully, I will move up and play longer.”
Strawn will be hard pressed to achieve the success she had at Southmoore only because she was the program’s first standout. She arrived as a sophomore in the school’s first year and leaves and a building block both the slow pitch and fast pitch teams.
“Earlier in her career, Haley had to fight through leg injuries but she never let that keep her from improving,” Lingo said. “ As a senior, Haley refused to let the Sabercats lose. Any time our backs were against the wall, she was there in front of the team leading us and making sure that every one of her teammates were focused and ready to perform.”
It was Strawn’s passion for the game and competitiveness that propelled the SaberCat’s to the state championship last month. Even though they lost, she set an example for how to play for future players.
Haley broke her hand during our final regular season game,” Lingo said. “A lot of kids would have taken a seat or had a built in excuse not to play well had they even tried to play at all. Haley went out and played her best ball of the season in the regional and state tournament despite being in a lot of pain and not being able to practice and stay sharp during the off days. You could see it in her eyes that she was going to make sure that her team played up to their potential and I know for a fact she was our driving force toward making a run to the state finals.”