Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
MINFORD — When Kiersten Hale finally steps foot on a college softball diamond, she’ll do so five hours away from her hometown.
And, although that may seem like a lifetime away, Hale is just fine with it.
In fact, it reminds of her of Minford.
Hale, who played third base and caught for the Falcons during her junior softball season, has committed to Thiel College in Greenville, Pa., where she’ll be attending this fall.
“I committed to Thiel College because when I’m there, it feels like my home away from home,” Hale said. “It’s small, just like my hometown in Minford. I’m excited to also play softball there. I love the coaching staff and the upperclassmen I met during an overnight stay. I went to their camp and the way they run things and care is something I definitely want to be a part of.”
Last spring, Hale hit .311 with two home runs, 20 RBIs and 19 runs scored. That followed a sophomore season where she batted .382 with 27 RBIs and 23 runs.
Minford finished 16-9 and won a Division III sectional championship.
Those numbers helped her name get recognized on the recruiting trail. But her commitment to Thiel would’ve never happened had it not been for the support of her family, teammates and coaches.
“During the recruiting process I had a lot of help from my family, teammates and coaches,” Hale said. “My family worked together to make sure I could financially afford all the traveling and camps to get my name out there and for colleges to see my potential. My teammates have always pushed me to be better for myself because I’ve always been the player to pick others up but not myself very well. Everything I know is because of my coaches, and because of the chances and opportunities they have given me, I have grown athletically and mentally. The support from these peers in my life means the world to me and I would definitely take a bullet for all of them.”
Thiel pieced together an overall record of 19-25 during the 2019 season. Before the college season came to a halt this spring, the Tomcats were 3-9.
Hale hopes to arrive on campus and immediately contribute to the team’s efforts.
It doesn’t matter what position she plays or where she hits in the order. She’s just happy to be a part of something bigger.
“I’m definitely looking forward to finally living the college athlete life and learning to be a student and a great ball player all in one,” Hale said. “It means the world to be a college athlete. I have such a great mindset now, knowing I have made my ultimate goal in life come true.”