This photo was taken at about the time when I personally realized this little girl could be good. Real good. She's a scrappy little 8-year-old here. Fresh off winning the California state title for her age group. I must've gone to 3 or 4 or those games. When the stakes are high for a little girl trying to hit a fast-moving softball—and you know the little girl and you know she's sensitive—it can be nerve-wracking. And exhilarating. Like when your little niece comes up big in the biggest games of her young life. A full 10 years later—yesterday, actually—I sat watching her play again. Only this time I was at home in Austin, TX. Watching, for the 1st time this season, a live streaming of her game in College Park, MD on our Apple desktop. The little girl with the monkey around her neck got a full-ride to play softball at the University of Maryland. Yesterday, in the 1st game I've ever seen her play on my computer, Hannah went 4-for-4 against Howard with 2 doubles. On Monday night I'll get to see her play on TV for the 1st time, when Maryland's game against Notre Dame gets the ESPNU treatment. Go Hannah!
Last year when I came down for Hannah's weekend series at Maryland, she wrapped up a 3-game sweep of Penn State by pitching brilliantly on Sunday and doing the postgame interview on the Big 10 Network telecast. This year the Terps lost 2 of 3 to Indiana. But they won the last game of the season and Hannah made a few sterling plays in the outfield and nearly hit a home run. Next year she's a senior and it's sayonara softball after playing since she was a T-ball twig. I'm gonna miss watching this girl's brilliance and grit.