When Hailey Krinn settles into the batter's box, opposing pitchers likely aren't fearing the long ball.
Standing about 5-foot-3, the Big Walnut senior doesn't have the typical power hitter's stature. But she leaves the softball program as one of its top run producers, and she provided that power from the lead-off role.
While it has been months since Krinn has faced live pitching with the cancellation of the spring sports season because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Ashland University commit is confident the summer season will pay off.
"It was hard not getting my last season and saying goodbye to the program, but I'm hoping to play with my summer travel team and continue to stay in shape and get in as many reps as possible," she said.
Last season, Krinn helped the Golden Eagles finish 17-6 overall and 7-3 in the OCC-Capital Division to place second behind Groveport (9-1). A third baseman, she batted .536 with 14 doubles, six home runs and 24 RBI and was named second-team all-state in Division II.
Coach Jeff Hatfield, who's been with the program for 13 seasons, knew Krinn would excel in the lead-off spot, and the Golden Eagles would benefit from her having several extra at-bats over the course of a season.
Krinn also led the team in home runs (5) in her sophomore season, when Big Walnut finished one game under .500 but reached a Division I district final.
"Sometimes when you put power hitters in the three or five spot in the lineup it can mess with their heads," Hatfield said. "I've watched Hailey progress, and she's really been able to stay within herself. When she relaxes, there's not a better hitter, as far as I'm concerned, in the Central District."
Hatfield expected Krinn to be a part of "one of his best ever" lineups this season, joining senior catcher Molly Sharpe (.456, 4 home runs, 32 RBI), junior shortstop Arielle Brown (.420, 3 home runs, 26 RBI), senior second baseman Alyssa Tarney (.388, 19 RBI) and senior pitcher Autumn Imhoff (.375, 1 home run, 14 RBI).
While Hatfield was Krinn's high school coach, she said her father, J.R., has been her "all-time" coach, teaching her "everything she knows."
The two remain focused on her swing mechanics.
"We go out a lot and work together," Krinn said. "If I'm doing something wrong in my swing, he knows exactly what it is. He really helps me with my overall game."
To stay sharp, Krinn has been "hitting a couple hundred balls off the tee" during home workouts that also include running, strength conditioning and throwing with her father and siblings.
"I get up at 8 a.m. and go run with a couple of my best friends," she said. "I've been hitting and throwing with my dad and brothers. We try to go out and hit at the cages, and I have a couple pop-up nets at the house. I've just been trying to keep my skills up."
All she can do now is prepare for the future and her freshman season at Ashland.
"It's definitely going to be very different if I don't get a summer season," she said. "I haven't seen live pitching since last fall. That's going to be really tough if I don't play."