Amanda Harrington
Ferris State sophomore second baseman Amanda Harrington makes a throw over to first base during the Bulldogs’ spring break trip to Florida to begin the 2008 season at the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla. (Photo/Sandy Gholston)

Passion for softball drives Ferris’ Harrington

By Sandy Gholston

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The game of softball has been in Amanda Harrington’s blood for about as long as she can remember.

Yet, it’s a little tough to pinpoint that exact moment the St. Joseph’s native initially fell in love with the sport, but there’s little question her passion for softball has only become stronger over the years as she has progressed from T-ball, to great success in high school and on to her college career as Ferris State University’s starting second baseman. Harrington, now in her sophomore year as a Bulldog, is off to a fast offensive start batting .326 through the Ferris’ first 15 games of a spring being hampered by snowy weather conditions.

Prior to the snow, however, the spring was off to a hot start in Florida for Harrington. That .326 average is not bad for a player who, once upon a time as a freshman at Stevensville-Lakeshore High School, was torn between two spring passions: softball and soccer.

“Going into my sophomore year I didn’t know if I was going to pick softball or if I was going to pick soccer,” said Harrington, who along with her teammates returned from the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla. with a 7-8 record. “I knew how much I loved softball, but I also liked soccer a lot. But then the more I stayed with softball and the more I thought about it the more I knew I really did like softball better and that was definitely where my heart was at.

“Right now, I’m just enjoying being able to play softball and having fun with it.”

Her love for softball was cemented in high school where she became a three-time all-state honoree (2004-06) for Stevensville-Lakeshore and ended her four years as a prep athlete with a batting average of .368 – including .455 during her senior year with 60 hits. As a prep sophomore, Harrington batted .331 with 43 hits as part of the school’s state championship team.

These days, Harrington hopes to help turn Ferris into a championship-level team. During her rookie college season, Harrington was part of a Bulldog team that advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament in Romeoville, Ill. and ended its season with a record of 31-17. A big part of any team’s success – indeed championship success – is built on a foundation of defense and that is one of the areas Harrington enjoys. She has never been afraid to get her jersey soiled by the dirty work it takes to be a successful middle infielder.

“Defense is definitely my favorite part of being a softball player because things are changing so much and every time the ball is hit there is going to be something different that’s going to be happening so you always have to be ready,” Harrington said. “Every play … you have to expect the ball to come to you and that means you always have to be mentally in the game and I like knowing I always have to be sharp.”

Harrington is excited about the potential she sees in this spring’s squad.

The pieces, as Harrington sees it, are in place.

“Our infield was pretty much set from last year and the biggest change is to have (Amanda) Jager moving over to first base, but other than that we’re all experienced and we know what we have to do,” she said as Jager is off to a hot offensive start batting .395 with a home run, eight doubles and nine runs batted in. “I think we’re a pretty close team and we get along with each other on and off the field and I think that’s going to help is going through the season to continue to get better and better.”

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