As the interview was about to end, Lewis Central softball coach Hannah Cole wanted to add one more thing.
“When we made our goals early this season, she specifically wrote down that one of her goals was to be All-City Player of the Year,” Cole said.
Lots of people set goals. Some accomplish them, some fall short. Haley Bach can emphatically cross 2020 Daily Nonpareil City Softball Player of the Year off her list.
The Lewis Central junior stated her intentions to her coach before the season, then went out and hit .615, good for fourth best in the state of Iowa.
Bach’s impressive season certainly didn’t come out of nowhere after hitting a team-best .391 in 2019, but even for a player as talented as Bach, the jump was eye-popping.
For someone who also participates in basketball, soccer and cross country, they key to her success wasn’t surprising: Hard work.
“Working in the offseason,” Bach answered as to her improvement. “I have been going to a hitting coach for the past couple years, Carly Neilsen in Omaha. She has really helped me improve my swing tremendously. At home, my parents were able to put in a net and tee in our garage, so I just hit off of that as much as I could, tried to get in as many swings as possible and create good habits.”
She also reached base over 70% of the time, had team-highs of 11 doubles, four triples, 13 stolen bases and had one of two homers hit by Lewis Central this season, which finished 12-8.
Those numbers don’t only happen because of physical skills.
“I think (hitting) is 90% mental and the rest is kind of muscle memory,” Bach said. “I go up to the plate and just really look for my pitch. I try to watch the pitcher during warmups and see what she’s throwing, try to time myself the best I can and try to take the ball wherever she’s throwing it to the best of my advantage.”
And if you think the success has gone to her head, think again.
Bach’s numbers are undeniable, but her intangible skills as a teammate and mentor can’t be gauged through statistics.
“Oh my gosh, Haley’s the best,” Cole said. “She’s quiet, but when she’s out on the field she’s talking to everyone in every single situation. She’s always pushing her teammates to be better and helping them. I saw her multiple times helping the younger girls with their swings and they look up to her as one of the leaders of our team, not only in terms or stats, but as a teammate. She just gives off that she’s a leader and I just love that about her. I trust her on defense and when she’s at the plate, and her teammates trust her as well.”
The scary part is she has another year to play in high school and another offseason to improve. Ultimately, she wants to play at the next level and is willing to work for it.
“I’ve looked into softball a lot and have talked to some college coaches,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing what will happen in the next year and I want to see if I can go play at the next level.”
Add that to her list of goals.
Council Bluffs Softball Players of the Year
2020 – Haley Bach, Lewis Central
2019 – Hannah Belt, Thomas Jefferson
2018 – Ashtyn Miller, Lewis Central
2017 – Josie Shudak, Lewis Central
2016 – McKena Duffek, Lewis Central
2015 – Lauren Nahnsen, Abraham Lincoln
2014 – Lauren Nahnsen, Abraham Lincoln
2013 – Lauren Meeker, Abraham Lincoln
2012 – Allie Martinez, Lewis Central
2011 – Taylor Powers, Abraham Lincoln
2010 – Brittnie Kreiser, Lewis Central
2009 – Brittnie Kreiser, Lewis Central
2008 – Brittnie Kreiser, Lewis Central
2007 – Brittnie Kreiser, Lewis Central
2006 – Kimber Markley, Abraham Lincoln
2005 – Kimber Markley, Abraham Lincoln
2004 – Sarah Walck, Thomas Jefferson
2003 – Kellie Price, Abraham Lincoln
2002 – Angie Bergantzel, Thomas Jefferson
2001 – Melissa Respeliers, St. Albert
2000 – Kristin Kinsel, Lewis Central
1999 – Anna Petersen, Abraham Lincoln
1998 – Molly Parrott, Lewis Central
1997 – Heidi Livingston, Abraham Lincoln
1996 – Keri Feilen, Abraham Lincoln
1995 – Anne Howsare, Lewis Central
1994 – Mandi Phillips, Abraham Lincoln
1993 – Tracy Cochran, Thomas Jefferson
1992 – Kristi Blachford, Lewis Central
1991 – Suzanne Riche, Lewis Central
1990 – Kristine Heller, Lewis Central