Hailey Heeringa didn’t want a big school ceremony at Chandler Valley Christian (Ariz.) to sign her letter of intent to play softball at Dordt College (Sioux Center, Iowa).
She doesn’t like the spotlight.
But the senior shortstop is in the middle of it, not only in the state but nationally, after her first 11 games had her leading Arizona (every division combined) in nearly every major hitting category:
Batting average: .767 (first)
Runs scored: 31 (first)
On-base percentage: .771 (first)
Slugging percentage: 1.728 (first)
RBIs: 47 (first)
Home runs: 9 (tied for second)
In a run-rule, 15-0 victory Tuesday at home against Tempe Prep, Heeringa blasted her 10th home run, which now ties her for most in the state.
“I didn’t expect much when it started because we didn’t have a lot of people,” Heeringa said.
Valley Christian coach Sarah Visser barely had nine players to field a team this season in Division IV.
After hitting seven home runs and driving in 30 runs and hitting .905 (19 for 21) leading the Trojans to a 3-1-1 record last week, Heeringa was among five high school softball players recognized by MaxPreps and NFCS national players of the week.
Nationally, this is where she ranked after 11 games:
Batting average: Seventh
Slugging percentage: Second
Home runs: Tied for 12th
On-base percentage: 18th
She had played in fewer games than all but one of the home-run hitters ranked ahead of her nationally. Some had played nine games more than her.
“The kid is the most humble kid,” Visser said. “I try to kind of stay out of the way. Just be there for support.
“I knew she was that good of a hitter. I didn’t know it was going to translate into this. We didn’t know what kind of kids we were going to have out for the program. Just getting nine out was a bit of a struggle. We got nine and just kind of hit our groove.”
Valley Christian’s win Tuesday improved it to 8-3-1 in the second-smallest division in the state.
Heeringa might have been under-recruited, but she doesn’t regret committing to Dordt, an NAIA school where Visser went to college.
“I don’t know how the club circuit works, because I only do high school stuff,” Visser said. “I’d talk to any coach about her, whoever wants to talk about her, because the kid can hit.”
Heeringa is trying not to get caught up with the national spotlight.
“It feels pretty good,” she said. “At first, I didn’t know I was hitting that good at all. I knew had some hits. Everybody was telling me and I was like, ‘Oh, wow.’ That’s crazy to me.”