Hayley Hinshaw knows she hasn’t gotten to where she is by herself.
After finishing her freshman season with the Motlow State Community College Lady Bucks softball team with the team lead in on-base percentage, RBIs and top five in virtually all five of the other major offensive categories, it would be easy to appear overconfident.
But the 2017 graduate of Coffee County Central High School knows that success has been about hard work and the help of her support network.
“My mom and dad, you know [in high school] they drove me all over the place for camps and visits,” explained Hinshaw, who knocked in a
team-best 30 runs for Motlow this spring. “And before every game, even now that I’m in college, I’ll go home the night before and dad will set up the pitching machine or we will do soft toss. He is always there working with me, and I wouldn’t be anywhere without that.”
Her work ethic has paid off, as she helped lead Motlow offensively in 2018 and played three different positions: short stop, third base and second base.
“I did not expect [to do this well],” said Hinshaw. “I expected to do decent. I was never a standout in high school or anything. I can tell I’m getting better. But I don’t want to be too cocky because there are highs and lows. You can hit a home run and you are awesome and you feel good. Then the next game you will strike out three times looking. I feel like you have to be humble.”
A very different game
The jump to the collegiate game has, surprisingly, come with less pressure for Hinshaw. She says that speaks volumes for the level of intensity and expectation of being a Coffee County Lady Raider softball player more than anything.
“There just is not as much pressure in college … you’d think it would be different,” said Hinshaw, who was part of two state tournament teams at CHS. “At Coffee County, we hype everything up and you are always a little nervous. But at Motlow, I have been more relaxed. Some of the pressure in high school was from myself – because I knew I wanted to play college ball from an early age, so I knew I had to work hard and perform for that.”
While the pressure may be lighter on her shoulders, Hinshaw admits the workload to compete at the college level has increased.
“Nothing against what we did at Coffee County because we worked hard, but we are working pretty much every day, all year now,” she explained.
As far as what comes next, Hinshaw plans to complete her sophomore year at Motlow, and she knows she wants to continue playing for a four- year university. But where that will be is unknown.
“I haven’t really talked to anybody serious yet. But I do know I want to keep playing while I’m young and can enjoy it.”
Aside from her parents, Hinshaw has taken something from many different influences over her career – even those she was just watching as a young, aspiring Lady Raider.
“I remember I enjoyed watching Ginny Clayborne and Alaina Lusk and all of that group play before I got to the high school. I feel like younger kids are watching me now, you see them at the games. I try to set a good example that way.
“Brianna Jones and Bethany Baker were big influences on me when I was a freshman and were really good friends. Coach [Terry] Floyd and coach [Brandon] McWhorter. Coach Lolo (Lenora Word) was a big influence on me before she passed away, and Jason Conn. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”