By Taylor Grafft
For Liberty Hill senior Delaney Red, this year has been all about dedicating herself to the game she loves, softball.
Red started playing softball in Houston in little leagues and coach-pitch leagues when she was seven years old. From there she picked up tips from her coaches and began to develop a growing bond with the game.
One particular lesson she remembers from her early years that she still practices today is “getting on a bucket.” That is the idea of always trying to stay low to the ground when fielding the ball and imagining you’re sitting on a bucket. It’s something she uses when fielding during a game or practice, she said.
Red arrived in Liberty Hill in the seventh grade and later got involved in camps, and summer and fall softball leagues. That’s also where she was able to meet her future Liberty Hill Lady Panther softball teammates and develop many friendships. One in particular was senior Alyson Sulak, who plays with Red on a select softball team called Stix.
Over the years softball has taught Red to be open minded and that hard work and dedication are key if you want to be successful. She says it’s allowed her to keep her head on straight and go down the right path.
“I’ve seen kids that aren’t involved in athletics and that can sometimes lead to them falling down the wrong path,” said Red.
Although neither of her parents played softball or baseball at the college or professional level, Red says that they have always been supportive and helped her get better. Both of Red’s parents ran track in high school. Her dad also works extra hours with her in the backyard on mechanics and fielding.
Before every game Red makes sure she is ready for the task at hand. She tries to stay calm and stay positive.
“I want to make sure I don’t let my nerves get the best of me,” she said. “I always want to have confidence going into a game and make sure I know what needs to be done.”
This season has been a little bit of a change for Red on the field. In the past she has always played in the outfield or at second base, but recently has made the switch over to first base.
“I always thought that playing second base was my favorite position because I was familiar with it, but since I’ve made the switch I actually like first base more,” Red said.
Red takes pride in her skills as a fielder and as a base runner. She says that having a solid glove and being quick on the base paths is something that she has tried to perfect over the years.
Red says she has been working hard to improve herself mentally. She is working on being more confident at the plate and not letting her opponents get into her head.
She says that her teammates and coaches have helped her this season by boosting her confidence and motivating her when she comes up to bat.
One player in particular that Red says she has relied on and built a great chemistry with is junior Payton Walker. She says the two have become good friends on and off the field and Walker is someone that is always encouraging and motivating her during practices and games.
The Lady Panthers recently started their post season and are hoping to make a deep run into the playoffs. Going into each game and each round, Red says it’s important that the team comes out strong and handles the game in a serious manner. Last season, the Lady Panthers left a lot of runners on base and were knocked out of the playoffs as a result.
This season they’re hoping to change that by being patient and handling each pitcher that steps into the circle.
Red says she was not interested in playing softball at the college level upon her graduation from Liberty Hill. She plans to attend Texas A&M University in the fall. Even though she won’t be playing softball at Texas A&M, she stills hopes to get involved in intramurals or a softball league around College Station.