DEFENSIVE MINDSET

For The Tribune

One of the reasons Claire Collett said she decided to play softball and soccer at Seymour was so she could be outdoors after school in the spring and fall.

“I love being outside,” she said, “I love the warmth and I love everything about it.”

Collett, a Seymour senior, has been playing softball a lot longer than soccer.

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“I began playing softball in the (youth) leagues since I could start,” she said, but she didn’t get into soccer until her sophomore year.

“I play outfield and usually left field. I always start out in a running position so I can easily move whichever direction I need to. I always think about all the situations that can happen before the ball is hit to adjust.”

In the field, Collett plays left-handed batters differently than she does right-handed hitters.

“For a left-handed batter we always scoot up almost to the edge of the grass because usually they slap it over the infield,” Collett said. “We back up for the power hitters.”

During the spring, with the winds swirling, Collett adjusts her position after glancing at the flag behind the fence.

“That is how I determine where I need to be,” Collett said. “Defense is my favorite part of softball.”

A lot of times, Collett acts as the flex player, meaning she plays only defense and doesn’t hit.

In practice, Collett works a lot on her bunting so the Owls can put her in the game for specific situations.

“Usually I bunt a lot because I’m pretty fast so I try to move runners around,” Collett said. “Where I bunt depends on where the fielders are. I think everybody likes a fastball down the middle.”

Collett said any team needs to keep a positive outlook if they make a mistake.

Whenever she takes the practice field, Collett said she knows the work she puts in before games will translate to live action.

“Practice is very important,” Collett said. “It’s the little things that lead up to the big things. What happens during practices is what’s going to happen during games.”

Home games were special to Collett, she said.

“I enjoy the lights, and I especially enjoy how the field is now,” Collett said. “They love the warning track. It has been a big help. There are only three people in the outfield and you’re not looking at the fence when you’re backing up, so it’s nice to have the warning track.”

During the Fall, Collett typically played outside for the Owls girls soccer team.

“I played wing so I played both offense and defense,” Collett said. “I had to cross the ball to the people that hit it in. On defense we would try to get it out as far as we could so they couldn’t score on us.

“I enjoyed all the players, and learning a new sport because I started out playing volleyball all through middle school and my freshman year.”

The senior said she believes trying different sports was a positive experience.

“I completely did a 180 with soccer and I loved it,” Collett said. “I loved the atmosphere, especially the coach. It was fun.”

Collett said you have to have a positive attitude for any sport you play.

“The mental part of sports is very important,” she said. “I think that is the hardest part, getting yourself ready for anything that can be thrown at you. The physical part can be changed but the mental part is all you. There is nothing that can help you except yourself.”

At a glance

Name: Claire Collett

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Darren and Sonya Collett

Siblings: Rachel

Sports: softball 4 years, soccer 3 years, volleyball 1 year.

Favorite away field: Bedford

Athletic honors: soccer–all-academic award two years; softball–coaches award.

Organizations: National Honor Society Spanish Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, D.A.R.E. Role Model.

Plans after graduation: Attend Butler University, study business.

Favorite food: Subway

Favorite TV show: “Bates Motel”

Favorite movie: “Pirates of the Caribbean”

Favorite team: Indiana Pacers

Favorite book: “Game Girl”

Favorite quote: “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.