Hayley Hardin signs with Danville Area Community College sotfball team

Hayley Hardin has made the choice to sign with Danville Area Community College to play softball in the fall. Hardin has been playing softball/baseball since she was four years old and played travel ball since she was ten.

With fourteen years of experience, Hayley has learned how far she can push herself and doesn’t settle for “just ok.”

Georgetown/Ridge Farm Softball Coach Colton Leake was in attendance at Hayley’s signing. “I’m pretty proud of her for signing. She’s the kind of person that if I had nine of her on the field, it would be fantastic,” stated Leake.

Hayley is also the type of player that coaches want to build their team around due to her mental toughness and athletic leadership.

Knowing the kind of player that Hardin is, Leake got in touch with DACC Head Coach Matt Cervantes. Both Leake and Cervantes went to the University of Illinois, graduating together and Leake was the assistant coach to Cervantes when he coached baseball at Blue Ridge.

Leake knew that Hardin was the type of player that would fit well with Cervantes and his softball team. “He knows exactly how I work, the mental toughness is a huge factor. That’s the first thing that he said about Hayley is she’s the kind of girl that will give her all,” said Cervantes.

After brief talks with Hayley, assistant Coach Kelly Cervantes began hitting with Hayley, which led to developing a personal relationship and connection.

When the time came to choose a college, Hayley knew who she wanted to go with. But her athletic ability isn’t the only reason that Matt wanted further pursue Hardin. “Her academic ability gets overlooked. She’s very smart, intelligent and part of the WYSE Team here. All of those traits and qualities will play a role especially when she gets in the program,” said Cervantes.

Next year, a total of twenty-two girls will be part of the DACC softball team, which is the most in program history. Being left handed, Hayley will be used primarily as a first baseman. “With the huge incoming class that we have coming in, it’s going to get crazy for her come playing time, but with her worth ethic and leadership, I see no reason why she can’t be one of those starting nine as a freshman” said Cervantes.

Hardin is already mentally preparing herself for the change from high school to college. 

“I think it’s going to be a pretty smooth transition. Me being a senior and facing four years of varsity letterman, I don’t think it will be a problem making the jump. I do think it’s going to be a different ballgame in college as the girls are more dedicated and constantly competing to be the best than ones in high school, I've been working non-stop and Coach has prepared me for this” said Hardin.

After two years at DACC, Hardin plans to transfer to the University of Illinois-Springfield or University of Illinois-Champaign with a walk-on spot.

Both Coach Leake and Coach Cervantes agree that Hardin will be successful at a four year college as well.

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