Hailey Maher has everything that Central Crossing softball coach Rona Dorsey looks for in a player.
The senior displayed the talent and versatility to play all over the field. She loves the game and did whatever was needed to help the Comets find success.
Those qualities helped Maher excel at Central Crossing and earn a place in the softball program at Marietta.
“If Hailey could be the pitcher and then catch and play short(stop), we would be in great shape because we were going to have such a young team,” said Dorsey, whose team finished 7-15 overall and 4-6 in the OCC-Central Division last season. “She has good instincts for the game, she’s a quiet leader and she will do anything for the team. She has strong integrity, and she is so consistent.”
Maher played nearly every position last season, seeing time as a middle infielder, third baseman, pitcher, outfielder and catcher.
“When (Dorsey) talked to me before the season, I told her that I was a utility player and she could put me anywhere,” said Maher, who was first-team all-league last season. “I play middle infield and outfield in club (with the Ohio USSSA Pride Blue). ... I just go wherever they send me.”
Last spring, Maher batted .426 with 11 RBI and a team-high eight doubles. She said her flexibility on defense keeps her on her toes and adds variety to the game.
“That’s what I like about (moving around the field), it’s not easy,” she said. “It’s more of a challenge. As a corner infielder, you have to be quicker than in the middle infield. You have to stay lower and be ready to charge bunts and things like that. In the middle, you have to make sure the ball doesn’t get past the dirt, and you have to worry more about the runners.
“There can be more pressure in the outfield because you are the last line of defense. You have to get the ball into the infield as quickly as you can."
Dorsey believes Maher is the kind of player who makes everyone around her better.
“Defensively, Hailey’s knowledge of the game and her instincts are fantastic,” Dorsey said. “She handles adversity so well. She is so consistent, especially in her hitting. I can’t overstate what her presence means to the team.”
Maher wants to study elementary education at Marietta and also earn a license in special education. Before that, she wants to get back on the field with her travel team. That’s important because her final prep season was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“I like the high school season better than travel because I get to see those people every day (at school) instead of just over the summer,” Maher said. “In high school ball, you get to set more personal goals, and you can see how well you are doing. With travel, it’s about being with my teammates and bonding when it’s warm outside.”
Maher said the summer travel season will help her prepare for her freshman season at Marietta.
“I have to work on my speed and need to be faster for when I go to Marietta,” she said. “I have to work on my quick-twitch muscles and my time from going from home to first.
“I have been working on everything ... whether it’s glove-work or hitting or whatever. I have been doing sprints every day and I lift here at home to get stronger. That’s important, especially if I’m going to play my first year (in college).”