By Dalton Ray —
Softball must replace Maryssa Becker, one of the best players the program has seen in the past 10 years. One of the players slotted to help replace her production is junior Darrianne Hale.
Hale is a junior college transfer who played at Butler Community College in Kansas last season.
From Dallas, Texas, Hale started her career at Incarnate Word (San Antonio, Texas) and left after not “meshing” with the program. She ended up at Butler CC, where they won a national championship.
The process hasn’t been easy for Hale, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Transferring twice, going from a big city to a small town, facing injuries and more, Hale has been tested.
“It’s been a struggle, but I’ve enjoyed it. There’s been bumps and bruises along the way, but overall I’m glad I went this route,” Hale said.
Adjusting to the team is one of the hardest obstacles Hale has faced in her college career.
“Learning how my teammates work on the field or off the field, getting to know how the staff — it’s a lot,” Hale said.
Hale says Louisville feels like home, which makes the transition easier. She added that the staff and her teammates have really helped while at U of L.
Adding to the obstacle of adjusting, Hale entered the fall coming off an ankle injury she suffered last summer while at Butler CC. She has since fully recovered.
For Butler CC, Hale batted .407 with 22 home runs and 60 RBIs as well as a 6-0 record and 1.87 ERA on the mound. One of the top players on the back-to-back NJCAA national champions, Hale was one of five Division I signees the Grizzles produced last season.
Hale wanted to “go bigger” and found herself at U of L. Her first encounter with coach Sandy Pearsall created a great first impression.
“She had these green khakis on, with a green top and she had these Keds with flowers on it … I had never seen a coach dress so casual,” Hale said. “The way she talked at dinner is the way she talks now.”
Playing first base and pitcher, Hale’s power is one of her best assets. On the mound, her off speed and drop curve are two of her top pitches.
One of the biggest influences in her softball career is her dad, Scott. Hale says their relationship allows for honest encounters about her play.
“He is my best friend. He was there from day one to now,” Hale said. “I can pick him out of the stands. He’s the only voice I can hear.”
Hale’s career has come from since her days at Bishop Lynch High School, but her final stop is at Louisville.
Softball had their streak of making 15 straight NCAA tournaments snapped last season. With Hale adding to the pitching staff and her power at the plate, the Cardinals set aim on starting a new streak.
You can follow Dalton Ray on Twitter @dray5477.
Courtesy photo / U of L sports and information