By: Paul Slobodzian
One Lady Cougar on the Newnan High School varsity softball team has already made plans to become an Eagle and soar at the next level of her athletic and academic career.
Throughout her athletic career, Hannah Scarbrough, a junior at Newnan High School, has pushed herself to perform at her absolute best on the softball field, and this past summer, her hard work and dedication payed off when she verbally committed to play at Georgia Southern University once she graduates high school.
Most student-athletes dream of committing to their college of choice sometime during their senior year, but Hannah has had the privilege of playing softball against elite competition since she was four years old.
This drive for success on the field allowed her the opportunity to announce her decision with plenty of months to spare.
Softball is commonly associated with baseball because of how similar the two sports are to each other in the overall ideas, and softball is not typically the first sport most young girls want to play.
But softball has a different importance when it comes to the Scarbrough family.
“I come from a whole family of softball players. My late-grandfather, dad, and many older cousins all played softball,” Hannah explained.
After playing volleyball and basketball as well as running track at Madras Middle School, Hannah decided to play softball full-time.
While the sport in itself is quite challenging, Hannah has found the friendships she has made over the years to be some of the most fun and rewarding things about playing softball.
As mentioned earlier, Hannah began playing softball with the Sharpsburg Regional Softball Association when she was four years old. She played a variety of different positions on the field including shortstop, second base, outfield and pitcher.
During her four years with the rec league, Hannah played for the Sharpsburg Attitude and Wildcats and started playing travel softball for the Sharpsburg Heat when she turned eight.
Travel softball is usually associated with more intense competition than the usual, local, recreation league. During her travel days, Hannah enjoys venturing across the United States and getting the chance to compete and defeat some of the best teams in the country.
The games are not the only thing that made travel softball worthwhile for Hannah, however.
“I will always cherish the memories I made over the years with my teammates that I never would have had the opportunity to meet [if I did not play travel softball].”
HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL
Hannah used her talent to earn a spot on the varsity team her freshman year.
Her name has been filled next to various positions over the past three years, but Hannah’s favorite, and primary, spot on the field is centerfield.
“I enjoy pushing myself to catch balls that are hard for players to catch. I also like being one of the leaders that communicates with the other outfielders and cheers on the pitcher and infielders,” Hannah said.
Like she did when she was younger, Hannah has played all over the place on the high school diamond. She has found time at shortstop, second base, all three outfield spots, and has even pitched a few innings, as well.
Fielding, however, is only part of the battle for a softball player.
Hitting in softball is widely regarded as one of the toughest things to do in the world of sports, and while aware of its challenge, Hannah just enjoyed her personal-best season to date at the plate.
Some of the many challenges of hitting, and the game in general, are “facing numerous pitchers who all throw different speeds and pitches. Picking yourself, as well as your teammates, up after a strikeout or tough error is also important because the team is counting on you,” Hannah noted.
Even though she does love playing centerfield, hitting is her favorite thing to do while playing, because she has “worked really hard the past year to get better.”
Hannah credits her hitting coach and biggest mentor, Paul Smith, for not only helping her refine her hitting but also assisting her with the mental aspects of the game as well as being a good teammate.
Hannah has been a member of some of the most successful Newnan High School softball teams in recent memory.
The Lady Cougars reached the Elite 8 in Hannah’s freshman and sophomore years, and they journeyed to the Sweet 16 this past season. The team’s success has contributed to some of Hannah’s greatest high school memories.
“I have enjoyed representing Newnan High School on the softball field and playing with a great group of girls and coaches,” Hannah said.
Once her senior season rolls around, Hannah hopes to continue the success she and her fellow teammates have experienced and enjoyed over the past three seasons.
“I hope I can help the team next year make it back to the Elite 8. I also hope I can be the leader like the seniors were in the past for me and help younger teammates grow their passion for the game,” Hannah commented about her senior year.
The team nature of softball is very important to the overall success of most teams. Hannah believes that “having good teammates who pick you up when you are having a bad game and myself doing the same when one of my teammates is having a bad game” is a recipe for triumph.
Hannah also plays for the Atlanta Vipers 18U Gold-Vallery travel softball team and looks forward to continuing to compete and growing stronger as a player alongside her teammates.
Hannah is excited to “have the opportunity to play with girls who have worked their whole lives to play [softball] at the next level and who share the same love and passion for the game as I do.”
Statesboro, Georgia is over two-hundred miles away and over a three and one-half hour drive from Newnan, but Hannah is ready to take her talents to the eastern seaboard.
While at Georgia Southern, Hannah plans to study sport management and business.
Hannah does not see herself playing softball once her college tenure expires, but she would love to be coach at some capacity in the future after she earns her degree.
OFF THE FIELD
When she is not slashing hits and catching fly balls on the diamond, Hannah enjoys her history classes at Newnan High School thanks to her “two great teachers who have helped me to be the student I am [today].”
Although she is a stand-out softball player, Hannah is not partial to the sport when it comes to watching games on TV or in real life. She enjoys watching baseball games as well as high school and college football contests.
Hannah has had a lot of support throughout her entire softball career, but one person stood out to her as her biggest role model.
“My biggest role model is my dad, Todd Scarbrough, for investing so much time in me and always pushing me to be better and making me the player and person I am today. I can never thank him enough for his love and support,” Hannah reflected.
Hannah would also like to extend her sincere appreciation to all of her family members who have encouraged her along the way.
“I would like to thank all of my family for their love and support. I am fortunate to have a very supportive family that enjoys coming to my games,” Hannah said.