First Person: Stucker prepared to lead team into postseason

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By Laura Clark

Hannah Stucker is a senior captain for the Rocket softball team. She starts at shortstop and comes in to pitch on occasion. This season, Stucker's  averages are .257 at bat, .330 in getting on base and .848 in the field.

  On the team going into postseason:

Overall, I think we’ve been playing really well. Mercy was a bad game. But other than that I think we’ve come together. We’re hitting better, getting less errors. We’re starting to bond more and that shows up on the field. We know our teammates have our back. I think we’ll be fine for districts.

I know in the Hancock game at the Owensboro tournament -- that turned things around. We’ve been more upbeat since then. I don’t know if we all just started to hit at the same time. Or start catching it better at the same time. I don’t know what it was. I think we turned it around just in time.

On the younger player she’s waiting to have a break-out game:

I think Sara Chambers [a sophomore, starting first baseman] has been kind of a quiet one this year. She’s trying to work her nerves out. Chambers, when she’s going to hit it, she hits it hard. We use her in the field. She cleans up all my bad throws.

And Sarah Lopesilvero (designated hitter), she’s a freshman trying to play at the varsity level. She’s doing fine. I think once she works her nerves out she’ll be a great player. They’re going to be excellent players.

On coming back from a torn ACL:

It’s pretty much the worst injury you can have. Being a senior made it hard. I played basketball longer than I played softball. When the doctor told me I couldn’t play [either], I was like, “Nope, you may take basketball away from me, but you’re not going to take softball.”

Basketball, it started off really hard. I was on crutches, or I wasn’t able to run. I learned that it happened for a reason. I look at it more spiritual, too. Maybe its something God wanted to put me through. I looked at scriptures, and my teammates helped me a lot.

I went to therapy three days a week for two hours a day. The people made it easier too. They have great attitudes at MaxPerformance. I just knew the harder I worked, the quicker I’d be back. And now that I’m back it really doesn’t hurt at all. It feels great. I’ve got the brace on. It’s over the healing zone. You can’t play scared; you’ve got to do it.

  On playing shortstop:

You’ve got to be vocal. You have to be a leader there, because it’s your job to call anybody off. If you say you’ve got a ball, you’ve got to get it.

  On pitching:

It was pretty hard at first because I have to push off the mound so hard on my right leg, which is where my injury was. At times with every pitch it hurt. You have to work through it. It doesn’t hurt anymore.

I’m pretty much back to normal pitching wise. She throws me in there, and you have to be ready. I’ve got to say yes.

My outside pitch or my curveball is my best pitch. When my changeup’s working, it’s good. But it has to be on. It’s a backspin. The changeup isn’t straight. When I come through it’s a backhanded release. You don’t want to keep it high or they’re going to drill it over the fence. You have to think about that. You want to place it. You want it slow, but not so slow they can hit it.

 On her hitting coming on:

The first couple games I started out fine and then I went into a slump for a while. The thing is, I think too much. You’ve got to get up there and do it. If it’s outside, you’ve got to go out there and get it. You never know what the umpires are going to call. You have to have confidence out there to hit. You can’t think.

  On going into the district tournament:

I think we’re ready. Anderson’s in our district, and we love it. We’re rearing to go. No matter who we play, we know what time it is, and we know how to kick it in gear. No matter that we do have a young team, they have the mentality to know it’s district time. And after that comes region. And that’s when you can’t mess around. I think we’ve worked the kinks out.