Q&A with Hailey de la Vara ’17

Q&A with Hailey de la Vara ’17

Hailey de la Vara '17 winds up for a pitch during the Wolverines' game against Windward. Credit: Adam Yu/ Chronicle.

When and how did you start playing softball?  How long have you been playing for? 

I started playing softball when I was eight years old. At first, I was kind of forced into playing since I had an older brother who had been playing for years. I have been playing for eight years now.

What is the practice and training regimen like, both in and out of season?

During the high school season, the practices are sometimes productive, sometimes not. Towards the end of the season, our team all had the same goal, which was clinching a playoff spot, and we worked super hard during training to achieve that goal. For my club softball team, the training is always super intense and difficult. The practices with my club team have pushed me to compete with my teammates and to become an overall better player.

How would you characterize this season?  What went especially well?  What were some highlights?

I think that this season was overall pretty good. We started off slow, and had a losing record for a while. Towards the end of the season, we had a six-game winning streak that put our record over 50 percent, which was a big deal for the softball program. I think the biggest highlight of the season was beating undefeated Chaminade in league. The whole team contributed to the win, and this game clinched our playoff spot.

Heading into this season, how did the team improve from last year’s disappointing season?

I personally didn’t feel very much pressure, because I knew that we’d be getting a couple key freshmen that would make a sudden impact to the team this year. I think that we all knew that this year would be a completely different season. Each of us individually learned something from last year’s disappointing season, which strengthened our game.

Do you have any pre-game rituals? What’s on the playlist?

A couple of the girls on the team and I are always dancing to music before the game and cracking jokes on the bus. Some of the songs on our team playlist are “Formation” by Beyoncé and “Jumpman” by Drake.

What has been your most memorable Wolverine moment?

My most memorable moment was probably playing in playoffs this year. The last two years on the softball team, we didn’t make playoffs, so I think that this has shown how much we have improved. I think that next year we will really have a shot at competing in playoffs.

What do you hope to work on during the offseason, heading in to next year?

I’ll be playing with my club team over the summer, so I will be working on my pitching mainly. I really want to work on perfecting all of my pitches and to continue to be successful at the plate.

As you’ve gotten older, how do you feel your role on the team has changed?

I definitely have become more of a leader. I want my teammates to look up to me and to come to me when there are any problems.

How have you evolved over the course of this season?

I’ve evolved over the course of this year because I’ve gotten stronger and more fundamentally sound. Last year, I only batted around .400, and this year I improved to .515, which was a huge step for me. I also led the Mission League in RBIs. Also, towards the end of the season, I think my pitching was steadily improving game by game. My defense had my back, and it helped me to be a more confident pitcher and player.

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