We’ve followed Hannah Church for several years now including her time catching current Alabama pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl two years ago when the pair helped lead Academy at the Lakes (Land O’ Lakes, Florida) to a thrilling 11 inning 1-0 win in the final of the Florida Class 2A State Championship in 2018.
Hannah has steadily and relentlessly worked to hone her craft and is now considered one of the top backstops in the Class of 2022.
She was recognized as the #20 overall player and the 8th ranked catcher in the 2022 Extra Elite 100 rankings, a class which includes already committed standouts like Sam Roe with the Birmingham Thunderbolts (Florida), Maci Bergeron with the Texas Bombers (LSU) and Jocelyn Erickson of OC Batbusters – Stith.
A 5-foot-10 power-hitter with a high softball IQ, Hannah has played with the East Cobb Bullets organization for the past few years before joining Mark Griggs’ Wichita Mustangs recently.
We knew that Hannah would get a lot of interest from college coaches when the Contact Period began on Sept. 1, 2020, but Hannah herself… she wasn’t so sure.
In this fun first-person reason, she shares her thoughts on how the day went from the stroke of midnight on when the phone wouldn’t stop buzzing!
Let’s just say that this is the softball equivalent of winning the lottery, only it wasn’t because of luck… it was due to a humble attitude and a great work ethic that helped bring top programs like Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Clemson into the mix!
It was 10 minutes until midnight and I was sitting in bed, watching the time tick by.
My mom was next to me and at 11:59 she looked at me and said, “Hannah, I know this is important, but just know: it is not the end of the world if your phone doesn’t ring, ding, or ping at midnight.”
I looked back and sighed, “I know Mom.”
As soon as that last word left my mouth, the phone began to ring… I was so shocked, I just stared at the number flashing across my screen.
It wasn't until my mom laughed at me that I answered the phone. I was giddy with excitement, so much to the point that the conversation was a little one-sided—I was just so happy and excited, that I couldn't find any words to use!
After I got off the phone, I looked at all of my messages and was shocked again, I had been contacted 12 times within the first 15 minutes of September 1st. I was up past 1 am responding and talking with coaches.
When I didn’t think it could get any better, it did.
I woke up to new messages. During school, I could barely concentrate wondering who was on the other end of my phone that kept vibrating. I returned messages and calls in between classes and on my lunch break.
I really wanted to stay home from school but my parents said the word “student” comes first in “student-athlete,” so I went.
Looking back, it was surreal to be sitting on Berkeley Prep’s campus (my high school in Tampa, Florida) talking to my friends one minute and the next I was talking to college coaches about playing D1 softball at their school.
After school, the communication continued. My final new contact call came while I was just finishing up catching my Wichita Mustangs pitcher Robin Herron about 9:40 pm. To get my last new contact of the day standing with Mike Zerbe, my hitting coach, and Kaci Clark Zerbe, the pitching coach I work, with was a great moment.
So much of my day was influenced by how much they believe in me.
By the end of the day, I had talked to nine coaches on the phone, scheduled several calls for the next few days, and participated in even more text and email conversations.
I was blown away because I was the kid who had to work harder than most in order to grow my game and make the cut so to be contacted by over 20 different coaches from 12 colleges in the SEC, ACC, Big 10, and Big 12 by the end of September 1st was a huge honor.
I’m so excited to be on this journey and even more excited to see where I land.
September 1st was the best day of my life, so far!