As Shelbee Holcomb crushed home run after home run and scooped up countless groundballs this spring, the rest of the YAIAA took notice. On Friday, the Pennsylvania High School Coaches Softball Association also took notice and named Holcomb the Class AA Player of the Year.
Holcomb, a junior shortstop, hit .740 with 57 hits and 10 home runs for the Squirettes, who won the District 3 Class AA title. As the YAIAA's leading hitter, Holcomb scored 50 runs and posted 53 RBIs. She was also named a GameTimePA.com YAIAA first-team all-star.
The Mount St. Mary's commit recently took time to speak on how gold medals are prettier than silver and how she draws inspiration from the late Lauren Hill.
Q So when did you first hear that you had been named player of the year for the entire state? What was your first reaction?
A The first time I heard of it was on Twitter. I had no idea that player of the year for the entire state was even a thing. When I read the tweet, it took me a minute to digest what it actually meant and when I finally realized that it was for the entire state, I was shocked. Pennsylvania is a big state.
Q How did your family and friends react to the news?
A When I told my parents on the phone, they reacted the same way I did. I think it shocked them and it took them a little while to understand what it meant, but they were definitely very happy for me.
Q Have you committed to a college?
A Yes, I verbally committed to Mount St. Mary's in November and will be playing softball for them.
Q You've had a pretty solid softball career. Where's this honor rank among your athletic accomplishments?
A I would say this is very high among my athletic accomplishments, and after getting a scholarship to play softball in college, this would be second highest.
Q Do you have a favorite moment from this season?
A Definitely when we won districts. It was a great feeling to go out there and finally get the gold that we've worked so hard for. The blue and gold is so much prettier than red and silver.
Q Now that you've reached this milestone as a junior, what goals do you have for your senior season?
A I want to continue with my success from this year and see where it takes me. A goal I have for the team is to go further in states than we have the past two years.
Q You're known for your hitting, but how do you think it would go if they let you pitch in a game?
A I would tell my defense to be ready because I can throw strikes, but they're going to be easy to hit. The batter would either hit the ball or I'd walk them because I haven't pitched for years and I've never been very accurate. I have a lot of respect for pitchers like Cassie (Rickrode), who dedicate a lot of time to pitching, because it is very difficult to pitch and be good.
Q What's more exciting: making a great defensive play or hitting a home run?
A It all depends on the situation. For example, if there are two outs and the winning run is on third, a defensive play that saved the game would be more exciting than a solo home run that has no real meaning. In the same way, a home run that is the winning run or drives in the winning run would be more exciting.
Q You're obviously really good at softball, so what's one sport you think you'd be the worst at?
A Golf because my softball swing would always mess me up. I know for a fact that I am really bad at golf.
Q OK, time for some rapid-fire questions now: any game-day superstitions?
A None other than not stepping on the white lines before a game.
Q Favorite field/park in the league to play in?
A Delone. Being on our home field just feels comfortable and now that we have a fence, the field is really nice.
Q Who is the toughest pitcher in the league to hit against?
A The toughest pitcher for me to hit against is Cassie (Rickrode) and because of that, I'm glad she's on my team. In my first tournament with my travel team, I played Cassie and she struck me out, but then I hit one back at her, so it was OK.
Q What's your favorite pitch to see when you're standing at the plate?
A Any low strike because I can get my full extension through it.
Q Favorite TV show?
A Either Grey's Anatomy or The Fosters.
Q One athlete you'd like to meet?
A I would've liked to have met Lauren Hill. Despite the fact that everything was against her, she had courage and she fought to play the sport she loved. Her story reminds me of how lucky I am to be able to play the sport I love, and I think all athletes can learn from that.
Q Funniest girl on your team?
A I think all the girls on our team have a great sense of humor, which contributes to us having fun all the time. There's never a dull moment and they constantly make me laugh.