The Ballard softball team is off to a sizzling start and Catie Barber is a big reason why.
The senior outfielder, who has signed with the University of Louisville, is hitting .476 for the unbeaten Bruins (8-0), who have outscored their first eight opponents by a combined score of 106-7.
Q: How did you get started playing softball?
A: Both of my brothers played baseball, and my dad grew up playing baseball. My mom also played softball, so it kind of ran in the family. I grew up watching my brothers play T-ball, so I started playing T-ball when I was about 4 years old, and ever since then I just had a passion for the sport. I liked how quick it was. It just became very natural to me. I tried playing basketball when I was little and it didn’t really work out too well, so I stuck with softball. I really enjoy getting better each day and seeing how much improvement one practice can make. It’s very rewarding.
Q: How come basketball didn’t work out?
A: I was probably about 6 and it was one practice and I got really upset that a girl stole the ball from me and I sat in the middle of the court crying. My dad was like, ‘I don’t know if this is going to work,’ so we stuck with softball.
Q: What do you like about playing the outfield?
A: I like being able to cover a lot of ground. You’re the last line of defense so if it gets by you the runner just keeps running. I like having that pressure on me, and I like making the diving catches and throwing people out at home. It’s a very exciting place to be.
Q: What are your goals for this season?
A: I really want to win a state championship for my senior year. That’s been a goal every single year I’ve been here. This year we’ve come out really strong. I really strive to be that leader on the team, the senior leader, this year, both vocally and just lead by example. I think with this team we’ve worked so hard in the offseason that it’s really evident so far this season with how many runs we’ve put up. And although scores don’t really matter at the beginning of the season, I can see that we’re getting better every day and we have the ability to come together as one team and really work together this year.
Q: You’ve signed with Louisville. Why U of L?
A: My dad works at U of L, so I’ve grown up on campus. After my first visit, I fell in love with the facilities and the coaching staff and it really felt like home. I knew growing up and going to high school I wouldn’t want to go too far away from my family. I never thought that I would be this close to home, but once I got to U of L and saw the campus and saw how many opportunities that the college would give me, both academically and athletically, I realized that it would be the best fit for me.
Q: Do you know what you’ll major in?
A: I’ve just recently decided that I want to go into elementary education. My mom’s a teacher at Ballard, so I’ve grown up thinking about teaching. I wanted to go into physical therapy for a while, but I am a peer tutor at school so I help kids in the lower-level classes, especially with math. It’s a very rewarding feeling to be able to teach them and them get it and understand.
Q: You’re a member of the choir at Ballard and you enjoy singing. Who do you like listening to?
A: My favorite artist would probably have to be Khalid. He just recently came out with a new album, and it’s a very relaxing album. I listen to it on the way to games. It sets the tone. … I usually get tense before games. I don’t need a hype-up (song). I’m already mentally ready. I just get stressed, so Khalid definitely relaxes me before games.
Q: What’s been one of your most memorable moments on the field?
A: When we were in the championship game of the Bob Jones (Invitational last year in Alabama). I robbed a home run, and that was probably my favorite memory of softball ever. It was on my softball bucket list, and I finally got to cross it off.
CATIE BARBER UP CLOSE
Student-athlete: Catie, who has a 3.86 GPA and enjoys math, is a member of the Beta and Pep club as well as the choir at Ballard.
Family: Catie, 17, lives with her mom, Kim; dad, Brad; and older brother, Ryan, 25. Another older brother, Kyle, 21, attends the University of Louisville.
Ballard coach Alan Jones says: “Catie always comes to practice and games with a great, hard-working attitude. She is a very hard worker. Catie spends many hours working on her game. I am so proud that she is going to live her dream by playing at UofL. She is a superstar.”