Athlete of the week: Haley Sutton, Chartiers-Houston
Name: Haley Sutton
Sutton’s week: Sutton went 5-for-11 with two home runs, a triple, five runs scored and four RBI during three wins for the Chartiers-Houston softball team at the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C., last Friday and Saturday.
“She’s seeing the ball really well right now,” Bucs coach Tricia Alderson said. “I’m glad that we had the opportunity to play some games because her swing looks great.”
New season, new role: With the graduation of catcher Colby Miller and shortstop Rachel Tucker, the Bucs are looking for someone to fill those rather sizable shoes.
Sutton, who has started since her freshman year, hopes to take over one of those roles.
“Last year, Colby was our hero,” Sutton said. “We all looked up to her. We knew no matter what, Colby was going to come through for us. This year, it’s one of those things where we don’t have someone like that to look up to. We’re kind of all at the same level. I feel like it’s something I should do: step up for my team.”
Guess hitting .455 fits in that category. Same for getting on base at a .636 clip.
She’ll play anywhere: If Alderson tapped Sutton on the shoulder and asked her to stand on top of the left-field fence, it’s doubtful the junior would argue.
Sutton played third base as a freshman and sophomore but moved to third this season. She’s also seen some time at shortstop and catcher in practice.
“She can player anywhere we need her to in the infield,” Alderson said. “It’s great for us because she’s very versatile. She doesn’t care where she’s playing. She just wants to contribute and do whatever she can to help the team.”
Sutton jokes that maybe she should stick to the infield, but still wouldn’t protest if Alderson asked her to move out there.
“If they tell me to play at third … I love third,” Sutton said. “If they tell me to go second, I’ll be the best second baseman you’ve ever seen. If they want me to catch, I’ll do my best.”
Head on the ball: Sutton admits she’s “the worst head-puller in the world.” But this offseason, she borrowed a tee from her neighbor and hit the same bag of softballs in her garage for hours at a time.
“Everything is coming together for me,” Sutton said. “This year, I’m finally keeping my head on the ball.”
Outside interests: Softball is only part of what Sutton is about. She’s also a cheerleader and rides horses. She’s a member of the local 4H club and participates in International Barrel Racing Association competitions for horseback riding.
She carries a 4.2 quality-point average and indulged her equine passion at last year’s state science fair with a project on how horses are affected by wind.
“I always get really into what I’m doing,” said Sutton, whose team has won the past two WPIAL Class A softball titles. “Right now, it’s softball, so I’m all about that. I’m excited for the upcoming season. I can’t wait to see where we go this year.”
– Compiled by Jason Mackey