The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

May 31, 2012

Dildine’s aggressive play pays off

WEST LIMESTONE — Hannah Dildine wants you to know she isn’t trying to swing for the fences. It just looks that way when the West Limestone senior steps up to bat.

The result has been 15 home runs over the past two seasons, leading the team in homers and other categories. For her effort on the field, Dildine has been named the 2012 Limestone County softball player of the year.

“My daddy has always told me not to swing for the fence,” Dildine said. “He told me to just try to get on base. When I swing for the fence, I strike out a lot of times.”

Dildine may have struck out a few times, but she has also gotten on base — often.

The sixth-year varsity player led the team with a .472 batting average this season, including seven home runs.

“She only stuck out 11 times all season, but part of those 11 can be attributed to her aggressiveness and wanting to get on (base) so bad,” said West Limestone head coach Mike Pressnell. “Sometimes she would have a tendency to over swing. Her aggressiveness could also get her in trouble sometimes.”

For Pressnell, the risk was worth the reward. Dildine found her way on base more than any other player this year. While the senior says she “hates to walk,” the coach was glad to have her on base any way he could.

“Teams would try to walk her when she batted No. 3,” Pressnell said. “Then, we put her in the leadoff position. If they wanted to walk her in the leadoff position, that’s fine. We’ll steal her to second and go from there.”

Pressnell said Hannah’s aggressiveness suits her in the leadoff spot. The West Limestone ball coach believes that is what separates her from others.

“That’s probably her biggest asset,” he said.  “She can run the bases real well. She’s got speed. There is no substitute for speed, and Hannah’s got it.”

Dildine’s speed was almost taken away from her four years ago in a traffic accident that left her with a broken right hip and a gash in her arm. Her wounds mended, but it was a long, hard road to recovery during her freshman year.

“At first they didn’t know what was going to happen because I had internal bleeding,” Dildine said. “I worked hard to get back where I was. It took about a year to get back to where I was because my leg was so weak. It doesn’t bother me now. Just a little bit in cold weather.”

Cold weather won’t be an issue for Dildine where she is headed. The recent West Limestone graduate will stay close to home and play softball at Calhoun Community College next season.

“I didn’t feel comfortable moving off,” she said. “I wanted to stay close to my family.” Dildine should fit in perfectly with Nancy Keenum’s Lady Warhark team. With the ability to play multiple positions and versatility to bat anywhere in the lineup, Dildine should find a spot in the starting lineup sooner, rather than later.

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