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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Jun. 9, 2022 3 weeks ago

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Hannah Harper

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In the last five games of the season, the left-handed pitcher allowed six runs on 15 hits, 43 strikeouts and walked five. 
by: Andrea Mujica Staff Writer

The First Academy senior Hannah Harper had an outstanding last season. Harper threw a 4-0 shutout against Mount Dora Christian Academy during the regional final and a 3-0 shutout against Evangelical Christian during the state semifinal. In the last five games, the left-handed pitcher allowed six runs on 15 hits, 43 strikeouts and walked five. 

When did you start playing softball? 
When I was 5 years old. 

How did you get to playing softball? 
My mom actually got me into it, because she used to play when she was little, too. 

What do you love most about the sport? 
I think that it’s a lot about overcoming failure, because softball — even baseball — are games of failure. It just feels that much better in those little times where you do succeed; it’s a great feeling. 

What’s your favorite thing about your team? 
I think it’s our chemistry. We get along so well. We never argue; we are always together all the time. The team’s chemistry and the bonds are like no other. I’m going to miss it so much. 

Favorite position to play? 
Pitching, for sure. You get the ball every single pitch, and you can control the game, almost. 

How do you mentally prepare before pitching a game? 
I try to think about what goal I want to achieve and think about one pitch, one out at a time. 

How do you feel about being part of the team that made school history?
It’s exciting and surreal. I just want to keep it going as far as possible. 

What’s your favorite dessert? 
I’ve got to go with brownies. 

Favorite food? 
Scrambled eggs. 

What’s your favorite hobby? 
Actually, I like drawing and painting. I’ve been doing it since middle school. When I was in sixth grade, it was the only option for a class left. I just got put in it, and I ended up loving it. I enjoy painting flowers. 

What’s series you are watching right now? 
I’m always watching “The Office.” It’s always a good background noise. 

What was the last book you read? 
I read a lot of motivational books. The last book I read was the one from (New England Patriots wide receiver) Julian Edelman.

Where are you going to college? 
I’m going to the University of West Florida in Pensacola. 

Are you going to play softball there? 
Yes. 

What are you going to study in college? 
I’m doing sports management. All I want is to have sports in my life for the rest of my life. I think I want to coach and be surrounded by athletes and sports for the rest of my life, because I fell in love with it when I was really young. 

How do you think softball has helped shape you into the person you are today? 
Softball really just taught me the main foundations of life (such as) teamwork, failure, overcoming failure, working as a team — just everything about softball. 

Favorite movie? 
“The Longest Yard,” an Adam Sandler movie. It’s a funny movie, but it’s also about overcoming adversity and being a kind of underdog. 

If you had a superpower, which one would it be and why?
I’d probably want to fly — both because I can get places quicker and because it would be awesome to see the world from that point of view. 

What type of music do you listen to? 
I listen to a lot of types of music; it’s hard to pin one down. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of hype music in the locker room, so that’s probably what it is right now. A lot of Pitbull. 

What will you miss most about your high school years? 
1,000% softball. It’s been the best three years of my life here at TFA. I’m so grateful for everything that everyone has done for me. 

Coffee or tea? 
Coffee, definitely. 

Top three things on your bucket list? 
I’m about to get one of them, but playing college softball is definitely a big one. I want to watch a baseball game at Fenway Park, because I am a big Red Sox fan with my family and all. The third one is probably coaching a college team in the future. 

Why coaching?
I actually coach pitching and hitting lessons right now, and it’s given a taste to what it’s like to be able to shape younger girls and help them fall in love with the game like I did when I was young. I just think it’d be really cool to do that on a bigger scale. 

 

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Andrea Mujica is a staff writer for the West Orange Times & Observer, the Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. She covers sports, news and features. She holds both a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Central Florida....

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