Kane County Chronicle Athlete of the Week: St. Charles East’s Holly Smith, softball, junior

St. Charles East softball

Name: Holly Smith

School: St. Charles East, junior

Sport: Softball

Why she was selected: During a doubleheader against Huntley, Smith went 2 for 5 with a home run, three runs scored, four RBIs and a stolen base in the two games.

Smith was selected the Kane County Chronicle Athlete of the Week in an online vote. Here is her Q&A with sports reporter Joel Boenitz.

What got you into softball and what keeps you going with it?

“I don’t really remember life without softball. I love everything about the sport. I’m out there five to six days a week on my own just grinding. It’s been my passion since I was probably 5 years old. And probably what keeps me going is my parents because they both support me financially, especially on the fields. My dad, especially, goes with me to the fields everyday, which definitely drives me to work harder because I want to do well for him and my mom as well.

What was your mentality like during the doubleheader?

“I was struggling offensively in my first two games, so my goal was to make hard contact and score runs, especially in my first at-bat considering the bases were loaded with no outs. I got into a bad count and my goal was just to put the ball high in the air to score the first run. And then for my next at-bat, I hit a home run. My first two pitches, I was really early and I swung and missed twice, so I decided I was going to try and be as late as possible on the next pitch and I just drove it hard, so I think that at-bat definitely got my confidence up for the rest of the day.”

How did it feel to get your first home run and RBIs on the board for the season?

“It was really exciting because I haven’t hit a ball as hard as that in a long time, especially to right field. So it was definitely really exciting because that’s something I’ve been working on all offseason was driving the ball to right field.”

How do you hope that a performance like that can help you in the latter half of the season?

“I would definitely say that I’m more confident at the plate. I even notice it in practice that I’m just swinging with a lot more confidence. I’ve always had the physical capability. It’s always just been a mental thing for me. So just having a really good start so far is definitely going to help me stay focused and have confidence at the plate.”

This year will be your third on the varsity team. How do you feel that being on the team for that long has helped you grow as a player?

“I’ve definitely been very fortunate to be around such talented athletes because, I mean, there’s a lot of high schools that have not had the talent that East has had. And I’ve grown up playing softball with almost all the girls on my team and they’re all just so talented and just great people that I love hanging out with. And so, more than growing as a player, I’ve actually grown as a person being on my team and just grown stronger with my coaches as well.”

What do you like to do on your off days?

I love going to church with my dad. It’s something that’s really important to me. I love hanging out with friends, who I’m with all the time. And I go to the gym a lot as well.

What’s your favorite TV show?

“My favorite TV show is ‘The Office’ because I think it’s really funny. My favorite character is Michael Scott.

What’s your favorite thing to eat before a game day?

A Kiwi Quencher from Tropical Smoothies. I always have that before every practice and every game.