COLLEGE SOFTBALL … Brianna Hays is pictured with her mother Laura Hays as she makes it official to continue her education and softball career at Lawrence Technological University (NAIA D-I) in Southfield Michigan. Not pictured – Leland Hays (father). (PHOTO PROVIDED)
By: Nate Calvin
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
WAUSEON – Lady Indians softball standout Brianna Hays recently signed her national letter of intent to play softball and study mechanical engineering at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan.
“I chose this school for the quality degree I will be getting, the numerous opportunities that are available for me to pursue and the ability to put academics first in student athletics”, said Hays when talking about her choice.
“The softball program has a homey atmosphere and family-like connection, the location being close to my home, and the campus size and look”, said Hays when talking about factors that weighed in her decision.
“Growing up on a travel softball team where college recruitment was pushed heavily, I wrote and looked into several schools to give myself the opportunity to say no instead of scrambling in my senior year to find my college fit that is still looking for players.”
“A majority were technological schools, such as Case Western Reserve and Rose-Hulman, but there were some other schools I looked into with more general degrees.”
Hays’ accomplishments during high school include: Honor Roll, three sport varsity athlete (softball – four years, tennis in first doubles position all four years, and one year bowling), scored a 30 on the ACT, NHS Vice President, seven-year member of the FFA program, and has been on various councils throughout her high school career.
During her sophomore year of high school softball, she named second team All-District for catching and was a part of the All-County team in 2022. In her junior year, she was named Honorable Mention in the NWOAL.
“When I was in 10u, I played for coach Roy Norman with Wauseon Parks and Rec. After my first year, he is the one who pushed me to try out for a travel team for the next season”, said Hays when explaining the process that led to her signing with Lawrence Technological University.
“I have now been playing high level softball with Ohio Hawks Shields for eight years. My coaches (Ken Shields, Scott Hall, and Kyle Snow) pushed me onto the path of getting recruited.”
“The recruiting process included lots of softball tournaments around the states, emails, social media, and college visits. I began contacting coaches when I was in 14u but stressed it heavily in 16u.”
“Being consistent with emails was the most influential thing for me. There is no way for a coach to know to come watch you unless they know who you are.”
“Emails including important information about myself, tournaments, highlights of stats and plays, and recap/thank you emails were extremely important things for me to send out every week.”
“The second most important thing for me was getting on campus. Through visits and camps, I learned how the campus was, how everyone in the athletic and academic programs interacted, and saw if I had the feeling of home.”
“Going to these events also helped coaches remember and evaluate me better. I had a recruiting profile on almost every social media to help myself reach coaches all around, as well.”
“I found out about Lawrence Tech through one of my travel teammates. I looked into them through their website and realized that they had everything I wanted on my college requirement list. After a summer season of contacting them, I was invited to one of their winter camps.”
“It went extremely well, and I immediately fell in love with the university and the softball team. I was then invited back for a campus visit and to practice with their team. I had an absolute blast and knew that was where I wanted to be.”
“In January of 2023, I announced that I was verbally committed to Lawrence Tech, and I have been continuing my journey to become an official Blue Devil since!”, she concluded.