By Bethany Porter
Former Lady Pioneer Hailey Wood is thriving as a Lady Patriot at the University of the Cumberlands.
Wood has just completed her sophomore softball season and received NFCA All-Region honors. These awards are given to softball student-athletes who stand out in their region. NFCA member head coaches vote on the athletes to receive the first- and second-team selections. Wood received a spot on the second team Region VI All-Region Team.
“I feel very blessed that I was chosen for second team All-Region. It means a lot to me and makes me feel like my hard work for the season paid off and continues to pay off. It also pushes me to get better to hopefully get first team next year,” said Wood.
Her stats will quickly show why Wood was selected for the All-Region team. With 42 stolen bases in the 2021 season, she is ranked third in the country.
As a freshman, Wood started all 20 games at third base and outfield. Her sophomore year, she started in right field in all 56 games and is an asset as a batter with a .340 average, making her one of the top four batters on her team. a
Her batting performance at the University of the Cumberlands keeps improving. In the 2021 season, she hit five home runs compared to her one home run during the 2020 season. Wood also contributed more runs in her 2021 season with 64 runs scored compared to 18 in 2020.
Despite performing so well, playing at a college level was an adjustment for Wood.
“The biggest difference between playing high school and college ball for me was all the preparations that go into the season. In high school, we did workouts and practice, but in college we are working out early in the morning around 6 a.m. and then practicing the same afternoon with college classes in between. So adjusting to that workload was definitely a process for me. Time management has been a huge factor,” said Wood.
One of her favorite memories as a Patriot so far includes winning the conference series against Campbellsville.
“They are one of the best teams in our conference and it was very exciting for us to take the series from them,” said Wood.
When Wood played for Warren County, she was nicknamed “Hollywood” by her coaches and teammates. Her success is no surprise to her former Lady Pioneer coach, Gooby Martin.
“I’m really not surprised she has done so great at the next level. She does not like to lose at anything,” said Martin.
Her former coach watched her transform as a softball player throughout the years starting in middle school.
“Hailey was always a good athlete,” said Martin. “It was great to see her mature from middle school to high school where she excelled as a player and as a young lady. Not only did she excel on the field, but she was outstanding in the classroom.”
Coach Martin believes what sets her apart from most players is her love of the game.
“If you watch her play, her enthusiasm and joy trickles down to the other players. I’m proud of Hailey and I love the way she represents her family and Warren County softball,” said Martin.
Wood believes her time as a Warren County Lady Pioneer prepared her for her time as a Lady Patriot.
“Gooby always told us and taught us that we had to compete for a position every day and I used that my freshman year and every day now to make sure I work my hardest and compete for a position on the field every day,” she said.
Although her junior season is approaching, she is not preparing for it just yet. At the moment, Wood is recovering from shoulder surgery she had a little over a month ago. She is expecting to get back at it soon.
“Here in the next couple weeks I will begin running and weight lifting following the workouts my coach sends us. It actually consists of three days of running and two days of lifting weights,” she said.
Wood’s junior year will begin this August. Her major is in biology, and in the future she hopes to attend physical therapy school and get her doctorate in physical therapy.
“If the opportunity arises, then I would be open to coaching as well,” she said.
Wood’s success continues as CoSIDA announced on July 1 she earned CoSIDA Academic All-District Softball Team honors thanks to her performance on the field and in the classroom.
Two years down as a Lady Patriot, and two more to go for this former Lady Pioneer. Wood is looking forward to her upcoming seasons.