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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Softball all day: City College softball player Hannah Clavelle

City College Panther Hannah Clavelle runs toward home with a smile after hitting a two-run home run at the top of the third inning during a 8-0 win against the Santa Rosa Junior College Bear Cubs on Tuesday, March 22. Photo Credit: Diana Martinez / [email protected]

City College softball player Hannah Clavelle won’t let a major injury stop her from getting back on the field and playing the sport she loves.

Clavelle sees this spring semester as her comeback season. “I went to San Jose State out of high school on scholarship, and I played. I got hurt there; I tore my labrum, so I had to get surgery and come back from that and then COVID happened — this is my first real season in two years.”

For the love of the game

When she was a toddler, Clavelle started watching her older sisters play softball, which made her fall in love with the game. 

“My big sister played, so I always watched her — both of them — and I just wanted to be like them,” Clavelle says. “That’s kind of how I got into it.”

Now Clavelle, 21, is the starting second baseman for the City College Panthers and considered one of the standout players on the team, according to her coach, Tim Kiernan. 

What Clavelle experienced during the pandemic 

Clavelle started playing softball when she was very young, and the passion has stuck with her.

“My parents will tell you, and my family will tell you that I spent every day and still continue to spend every day, playing this game, thinking about this game and loving this game,” she says.

During the early months of the pandemic as she was recovering from her injury, Clavelle used self-motivation to keep up her skills. “I was going to the field by myself or with my dad,” she says. 

Then when she came to City College, she and her teammates had to adjust to new protocols to keep the team safe.

“We had to use separate balls and make sure everything was sanitized, and no one was using each other’s bats, which is different,” she says. Despite these changes, the team had solidarity with each other.

“Because in softball, you’re around each other so much you become like a little family and you kind of share everything, so we all had to unlearn those habits of … ‘Oh you want some of this, or this is my bat,’ so that was different about it,” she says.

To Clavelle, it’s all about being passionate about the sport. “I feel like if you don’t love it — anything that you’re doing — then you should stop doing it,” she says. “I really think it’s my love for the game and having fun.”

This season, she says her favorite moments with her team would be the bus rides or team trips.

City College Panther Hannah Clavelle stands in the dugout with her teammates after she hit a two-run home run in an 8-0 win against the Santa Rosa Junior College Bear Cubs on March 22. “It feels really good to be back competing together with my teammates,” Clavelle says. Photo Credit: Diana Martinez / [email protected]

“We were all in the hotel; we had a big group FaceTime. Because of COVID-19, we aren’t allowed to go into each other’s rooms,” she says in an enthusiastic voice. “Our team: We’re like sisters.”

This spring season she said she hopes the team makes it to the playoffs, but it’s still in the making.

Future career plans

Clavelle hopes to transfer to a four-year college and continue to play softball at the collegiate level, she says. “ And I hope to go to law school one day to become a lawyer. It’s the dream.”

But hoping to become a lawyer won’t stop Clavelle from playing softball; she plans to do both. “I also see myself helping little girls, even teenage girls, go through the recruiting process and learn the game,” she says. “I plan on having a career in law, but also still having the game in my life in some sort of way.”

As far as balancing school and college sports, it’s all about time management, she explains. “I try and manage my classes to where they’re usually on the same days, or they’re not too many on one day, because I’m the type of person that doesn’t really focus for that long,” she says. 

Clavelle has a structural way of managing her time. “I try to get all my homework done first,” she says. “I write out all my work, and I cross it out when the year goes along, so that I know when everything is due and I know what days I have to do it.”

Coach Tim Kiernan says of Clavelle, “She works very hard in practice and is a team leader. She is a money player who you can count on to get a big hit or make a big play.”

Kiernan has been more than just a coach to Clavelle, especially as she recovered from her shoulder injury.

“He made sure that I got toe correct physical therapy that I needed, that I was doing it, that I was icing and he checked on me every day, and just let me know that I’m still valuable even though I’m hurt … it made me feel like I was more than just an athlete to him because I knew that he cared,” she says.

Clavelle offered insight to anyone interested in pursuing softball as a career. She said that one of the most important things to remember is to never take the opportunities present for granted.

“Always have fun with it and just love it,” she said. “When it’s gone it’s gone. Respect your coaches and love your teammates because they’ll always have your back and they’ll always be your friends.”

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