Earlier this week, we presented Abby Newman, a middle infielder/outfielder from Daviess County High in Owensboro, Kentucky, as one of our 2021 Extra Elite 100 honorees.
Abby plays for the Southern Force club organization and Rodney Chancey, the Executive Director of the program and the sophomore’s head coach on the 16U team, said the following about her:
“I have been coaching high level travel ball and high school ball for 19 years and have had countless young ladies go on to play at various levels, to include major D1’s to NAIA programs. I’ve even had the luxury of coaching a former USA Jr Olympian.”
“I’m writing because Abby’s skill set as a shortstop is as good as I’ve coached. She has good range and good arm strength… but where she excels in my opinion is her fundamentals.”
One thing both coach and player agree on is that the young athlete has benefited from working out with former Daviess County high alums who are now playing in at the collegiate level and have taken time to give back to younger players including the current sophomore standout.
Here, in Abby’s words, are her thoughts on how important mentors have been in helping her progress on and off the field...
Relationships and Role Models in Softball…They Matter!
My name is Abby Newman and I am from Owensboro, Kentucky.
I have played every level of ball since I was five-years-old: tee ball, to recreational softball, high school softball, and now currently high-level travel softball.
So, I guess you could say, softball is my life!
I am fortunate to have the opportunities to play softball for my high school and travel ball team across the nation--from my home state of Kentucky to other places like Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Colorado.
In my eyes, the game of softball continues to teach me so many things: discipline, sacrifice, hard work, pleasure and respect. All of these combined have helped me become a better teammate, player, and student.
Most important, softball teaches me to be grateful to those who help me be a better person and player.
Although I am still on my softball-recruiting journey, I think it is so important to always show respect and appreciation for those who have helped me and are still helping me today become the best version of me.
Softball has allowed me to meet many new people and form relationships with other players, families, and coaches. I have many people who are just a phone call away when I need advice, have good news to share, or just have a bad game.
When I was 12-years-old, my high school coach, John Biggs, made the decision to switch me from batting on the right side to slapping from the left.
Madeline Bowlds, a current softball player at Western Kentucky University who is also from Daviess County, Kentucky, became my first mentor.
She is a natural left-handed batter, but she has speed and can slap or hit away and she practiced with me for countless hours on slapping. We even attended a slapping session together with India Chiles, who is now assistant coach at University of Tennessee.
Another relationship and positive role model for me has been Lauren Johnson, who is a sophomore on the University of Kentucky softball team. Lauren is also from Daviess County and I met her playing high school softball
Since the time I met her five years ago, I have looked up to her. She is a genuinely nice and humble person as well as an amazing talent in softball.
Due to my speed, I was privileged to playing varsity as a middle schooler and at that time Lauren was the starting shortstop for the Lady Panthers so I was able to watch her and learn from her.
She was my mentor until I became the starting shortstop and I am now going on my second year of holding down the position.
Lauren is always the first to call or text me when I have a good or bad game. This truly means so much to me as a player and as a friend.
Last year, as a young player on the team, she texted me to say to keep “doing my thing and not let others actions or words keep me from my success.”
To this day, we continue to work out together during the off-season. We push each other to be better and keep up with each other’s success, in softball.
I know many softball players have role models such as their dads who coached them (which I did) or famous pro athletes (I have many I enjoy watching), but I am especially grateful for the role models who have mentored me.
Softball is more than just a game…it is so much more.
To all you softball players out there, always remember to thank those who have helped shape and mold you into being the player and person you aspire to be.