The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

May 8, 2014

Hodges overcomes obstacles to lead Calhoun

Former Ardmore player helps CCC to 4th place finish

By Jonathan Deal
jonathan@athensnews-courier.com

— Eighteen months ago, Allison Hodges had high hopes of making an early impact on the Calhoun Community College softball team. A former Ardmore standout, Hodges was preparing for her first fall season with the Warhawks when a wrong turn changed everything.

“I was going around a bad curve and ran off the road and hit a tree,” said Hodges. “I woke up in the emergency room. My first words were, ‘I really messed up this time.’”

That was Nov. 26, 2012, the night before Thanksgiving. The accident took her off the field and put her life in jeopardy.

After a long recovery, Hodges returned to the field this spring and helped Calhoun to a fourth-place finish at the Alabama Community College Conference Tournament over the weekend.

The path back to the softball field, however, wasn’t an easy one. Immediately following the accident, she spent 19 days in the hospital on a feeding tube and was in and out of the hospital for the next several months.

Treatments included trips to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Finally, nearly six months after the accident, Hodge’s last drainage tube was removed. Soon after, she was cleared to return to the playing field.

“It makes you realize how much you love the sport when you can’t play it,” said Hodges. “My first at bat back, I bunted for a base hit and then my second at bat I hit a home run, so that was awesome. I was actually batting in the No. 9 hole then.”

Hodges soon moved up the lineup to the No. 2 spot at the start of Calhoun’s spring season. The sophomore left-fielder started 67 games this season, more than any other player on the team. Hodges is described as one of the team’s most consistent players, with a .308 average, four home runs and 32 RBIs.

Along with former West Limestone standout Hannah Dildine, Hodges led the team in most statistical categories this spring.

“Hannah is always going to produce at the plate,” said Hodges. “My defense is really my strong point. But I’ve worked on my hitting a lot, so it’s improved. Defense is something that has always come natural. Hitting, I’ve always had to work on.”

Obstacles part of life

Hodges overcame a lot, compared to most teens, even before her accident.

Her father died when she was 2 and the Ardmore native was raised by her grandparents. Her mother died when Hodges was a freshman at Ardmore High, and the grandmother who raised her was diagnosed with cancer when Hodges was a senior.

“It wasn’t too hard, because my grandparents made it easy for me. They did anything any parents would do. My granddad would throw ball with me and time me to see how long it took me to run around the house,” remembers Hodges. “My grandparents attended every game except when my grandmother that raised me got lung cancer and didn’t get to come to a single game.”

With all that she has been through, Hodges said the decision to play softball at a nearby college was easy when Calhoun offered.

“If I was going to go to a junior college, it was going to be here. Coach Keenum made that decision easier,” she said.

Hodges will graduate later this month in general studies and plans to pursue a business management degree.