Softball career carries Leftrick to Motlow

Monday, August 25, 2008
Joining Hillary Leftrick as she signs to play softball at Motlow State are, seated from left, Kenny Leftrick (father), Lori Whorley (mother), and, standing from left, Central High athletic director Whit Taylor, Riley Leftrick (sister), Central assistant coach Kerry Thompson, Central head coach Robin Ayers and Motlow State head coach Gary Barfield.

Former Shelbyville Central softball player Hillary Leftrick signed a letter of intent to play collegiate softball at Motlow State Community College.

Leftrick plans to major in nursing and, after Motlow, wants to enter the nursing program at Middle Tennessee State University or continue playing softball at a four-year institution.

During Leftrick's time at Shelbyville, she excelled in multiple sports (soccer, basketball, softball), received All-District 8-AAA honors three out of the four years that she played softball, and earned a spot to play in the Middle Tennessee Softball Coaches Association Senior All-Star Game.

But aside from these accomplishments, her favorite memory of Shelbyville softball was how they "were a really close team, like family."

"The best memory was when we beat Tullahoma this year because no one thought we could."

Leftrick had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the eighth to give Shelbyville a 1-0 victory.

Her academics are also impressive since she earned a 3.75 GPA, while taking honors courses and earning college credits.

"I could not have asked for a more determined student-athlete who has an amazing work ethic," Shelbyville coach Robin Ayers said. "I am anxious to see how much she improves since at the college level the coaches are really able to focus in on individual needs. She is already a good player, but now she can take it to the next level."

Leftrick prepared for college softball this summer by playing for Diamond Express, a summer league team coached by Steven Foster.

Motlow coach Gary Barfield noted that Leftrick's "versatility and speed will be huge assets to our program. She can play outfield and second base. Hillary is a tough, hard-nosed player that will fit into our system perfectly."

Leftrick's tremendous speed makes her a great slap hitter, which gives her different options when she steps up to the plate.

Softball is not a new sport for Leftrick.

"I started playing T-ball, then slow pitch, then fast pitch, and kept playing," Leftrick said. "My parents let me play a lot of different sports to see which one I liked, but in the end I stuck with softball."

She noted that her parents support her decision to keep playing.

"My mom (Lori Leftrick Whorley) never missed a game and my parents are planning to come to as many of my college games as they can."

Leftrick's speed will be a valuable asset for Motlow. (T-G Photo by Danny Parker)

Leftrick's love for the game will most definitely be a major asset in helping her transition from high school to the college level.

When asked if she was eager to start playing college ball, she responded: "I'm pretty excited about it. I actually wasn't planning on playing, but then after I quit I realized how much I really wanted to play."

Ayers noted that Leftrick's greatest strength in softball was her determination and desire to succeed.

Not only does Leftrick stand out in academics and athletics, but she is actively involved in the community, earning a Gold Award in Girl Scouts, and is an active member of Calvary Baptist Church. A couple of activities she participated in included collecting school supplies for underprivileged children and helping with a teacher appreciation breakfast.

Leftrick seems prepared to take on the task of balancing athletics and academics.

"As much as I love playing softball, academics have to be my No. 1 priority. Softball is not always going to be there but academics will."