By: Chelsea Opong-Wadeer
Picture standing at-bat; it’s the last game of the season, and all that stands between reaching 100 hits in a softball career is the softball bat in hand and the approaching ball. How does a player push through?
For Mt. Olive High School senior, Izzy Hendrickson, it was her passion and love for the game that led her to a 100 softball career hit.
Hendrickson, 18, of Budd Lake, has cherished her love for the game since the age of five. Her inspiration to play came from her older brother Ethan, who played baseball during his high school career at Mt. Olive.
“I always looked up to him,” she said, “he became an athletic icon for me.”
Hendrickson made her 100th softball career hit at MO’s final away game against North Hunterdon High School. Down in the game prior to taking the plate, Hendrickson knew her and her teammates wanted to rally to hopefully get a win. When she finally hit her 100th she said, “it just felt good.”
One thing Hendrickson noted about her team’s dynamic is the longevity of their journey together.
“This is the group of girls I’ve been playing with since we were literally 5, it’s the same group same positions,” she said, “in a way it’s almost weird to think about all of the connections we’ve made, all the weekends we’ve spent together, the tournaments and games we’ve played together in our lifetime.”
She added, “we’ve all made connections with each other without having to force it, and I just loved to be a part of all that.”
When describing how softball has impacted her, she explained that it has given her the best of
friends. In fact, two of Hendrickson’s best friends, Annalee Smith and Alyssa Borozan also achieved their 100 career hits this season. Hendrickson admitted she was the last out of the three to achieve this honor, but it was being last that motivated her to push and try harder to
stand alongside them.
Over the years, Hendrickson says softball has taught her that it is more than just a game or playing a sport. Her advice to someone who may be on the fence about playing is, “go for it.”
“I understand that people sometimes get scared and think ‘oh maybe I’m not the best,’ she said, “but in the end that doesn’t matter because softball isn’t just something you pick up and you’re good at. It’s something you develop and learn so much from along the way.”
Hendrickson’s next stop on her journey is attending Pennsylvania State University, studying athletic training. She says she is not sure if she will pursue softball in college, but she hopes to continue to stay active and seek club and intramural sports opportunities. She gives a big thank
you to her friends, family, and coaches who have supported her along the way and helped her get to where she is today.