ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. - The Battling Bishop exciting summer continues with episode three involving a Bishop student-athlete finding redemption while playing in a professional softball summer league.
Recently graduated outfielder, Hannah Ivester of the NC Wesleyan softball team, just recently finished up her first professional season with "The Field" of the American Softball Association (ASBA) , which is a pro softball summer league in Mobile, Alabama. Ivester was on The Field's roster, a 12-player team where she played her primary position of right field by the end of the season while batting first and second in the order most of the summer along with fellow USA South member, INF/OF Alyssa Singleterry of Huntingdon College (Ala.). Ivester and Singleterry were each named First Team All-Division in the USA South in 2019 and played next to each other in the outfield most of the summer as well.
"I thought it might be a cool story to show two former competitors from the same conference (USA South) playing together [this summer]," commented Ivester. "We ended up playing next to each other in the outfield and hitting 1 and 2 in the lineup."
Ivester's team finished third in the league this summer with 10 wins over 26 games and were coached by Ivey Kane of Coastal Alabama University. Ivester led her team in batting with an impressive .355 average over 20 games along with 22 hits and 11 runs scored with a home run and 3 RBIs. She was one hit shy of the team-high. She also hit for a .452 slugging % and a .397 on-base % with 4 walks and 28 total bases.
Ivester signed up for the pro draft the day after the Lady Bishop's season came to a heartbreaking end on April 18. After originally not being drafted, Ivester received a call the following week after the draft to come down and join the team to replace an injured player. Ivester would report to the league midway through the season on June 23 and immediately provided a spark helping the team win 7 of their final 12 games. The league's 26 game schedule just recently finished up on July 26 with all games being played at Satsuma HS, north of Mobile.
"I really wanted a chance at redemption from the way the season ended in April," said Ivester, referring to the heartbreaking way that the top seeded and East Division Champion NC Wesleyan's season ended with a first round 2-1 walk-off loss to Meredith College on Wesleyan's home turf.
"I was the one who made the final play, [her throw from right field just missed tagging the winning run out at home] and it was really difficult not to feel responsible for the season ending," said Ivester.
"I definitely feel as though this season allowed me to finish my career on a higher note, should I not be able to go back," commented Ivester. "I finally hit a lefty home run (I didn't hit one at all in college), and I even made a similar play this summer to the one that put us out of the conference tournament in the last game of the season. That throw home ended up being a top play of the night in the ASBA league which was pretty cool."
Ivester was also thrilled to be able to write the recaps of the championship series over the last two nights of the event.
Ivester will now shift her attention to the Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health PhD program at Virginia Tech in the fall. As for next summer's season, she is still unsure whether she'll be able to play next year but added, "I would love to if I can make it work. I worked really hard to get here and would love to give thanks to my college community that helped me get here."