VERSAILLES – Versailles senior Hailey McEldowney found a great fit in Sinclair Community College, a place where she can study to be a physical therapist assistant while continuing to play softball.
McEldowney, the daughter of Scott and Julie McEldowney, signed her letter of intent on Friday to play college softball at Sinclair. It’s a goal she worked toward since she started playing travel ball in eighth grade.
“It feels great,” McEldowney said. “I’m just glad I get to now continue playing softball, a sport I love. I’m just glad I get to play longer.”
McEldowney liked that Sinclair was close to home, she liked that it has a respected physical therapist assistant program, and she liked the Tartan coaches.
“It’s awesome,” Versailles softball coach Chris Floyd said. “It’s a perfect fit. They have exactly what she wants to study, which is the most important thing, and then she gets to continue playing softball, something she loves to do.”
At Versailles, McEldowney was named first team all-Midwest Athletic Conference this past season. In 25 games she led the Tigers with 46 RBI, which was 14 more than anyone else on the team. She also led the team with six home runs, led the team with six triples, was second on the team with a .452 batting average and was third on the team with nine doubles.
Sinclair coach Steve Beachler said McEldowney is exactly the type of player the Tartans want to recruit.
“We’ve been going up the regionals and facing Michigan teams, and the Michigan teams can really hit, and that’s what we’re focusing on now – the players who can get on base and drive runs in,” Beachler said. “It seems like we’ve always had decent pitching, but their hitting overcame our pitching. We sort of changed gears a little bit and tried to go for RBI hitters and players who can get on base and score runs.”
McEldowney, who plays in the outfield, has speed, has a strong arm and is a great hitter, Floyd said.
“We’re expecting great things from her this year,” Floyd said. “We only graduated two seniors, and we’ve got a nice team coming back, and she’s going to be a big part of it.”
Beachler also likes that McEldowney is a good student-athlete and has the right attitude.
“I think she’s very coachable and (has) a high competitive nature, which is what we want,” said Beachler, who has recruited girls from Ansonia, Arcanum, Bradford and Greenville the past couple years.
At Sinclair, McEldowney wants to excel on and off the field. She’s considering transferring to a four-year university after her two years at Sinclair.
“I want to maintain a good, steady GPA and play good on the field and everything,” she said of her college goals. “Just working hard to become the best I can be.”
McEldowney probably will shift from left field to center this upcoming season for Versailles, Floyd said. The Lady Tiger senior is looking forward to the spring season and contributing to Versailles’ success.
“I just want to be a good leader for the team, help go far probably in tournament,” she said.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.