Jason Bowen

Just a few days before what was to be her senior season of softball, Paint Rock Valley's Laurel McBride learned the Pirates would not be fielding a team after a couple of players would not able to play.

But that doesn't mean that she or younger sister Ella had to put away their gloves. Instead, they joined the PRV baseball team, finding themselves a part of a team that also includes their brother, Will.

“We found out about softball, and we went to baseball,” said Laurel McBride, who plays shortstop while Ella is an outfielder.

 Laurel played softball the past three seasons at New Hope before transferring to PRV for her senior year.  Understandably, there have been some adjustments she's had to make from switching from the softball diamond to the baseball diamond.

Hitting has been the toughest challenge.

“The speed of pitches hasn't been the thing, it's just getting used to the angle the ball is coming,” Laurel said. “In softball, you hit it as it’s rising. In baseball, it's going at [a] downward [angle].”

Laurel’s first baseball at-bat in a game went as she expected: “Oh yeah,” she said with a laugh, “I struck out.”

Laurel broke through with a hit in a recent game, and she's learned the strike zone and has drawn several walks.

As for fielding, Laurel enjoys “the more time” to field grounders than in softball, which is played with a much smaller infield that baseball.

“You've got a little more time to move to get it,” she said. “That's  a plus.”

Laurel and Ella have been accepted by there male teammates — “they give us a hard time just like they do everybody else,” Laurel said of the joking around her and her teammates do.

Regardless of which diamond she's on, Laurel, who also played basketball and competes in the discus, shot put and javelin events for the PRV track and field team, says the main goal is still the same. 

“[Sports are] not about yourself,” Laurel said. “It's about encouraging each other, having fun and trying to win together.”

Laurel didn’t envision her senior year of the diamond involving a baseball instead of a softball, but the senior is definitely enjoying the moment.

“I like the challenge,” she said. “It's been a good experience, one I'll always be glad I got to have.”


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