By Mary Ann Ellis
As ACHS senior Emily Bass looks toward college, she hasn’t decided yet if she’s going to play ball in college; she might. She’s certainly able to if she chooses. Any team would be pleased to have her, especially since she’s just been named Region Pitcher of the Year with .955 runs per game. That simply means that out of all the pitchers in the region, she had the fewest number of players score while she was pitching. Her plans to play ball may not be concrete yet, but her roommates are. She plans to room with Amelia Fordham and Abigail Hernandez, her dear friends who play ball with her, and they are planning to attend Georgia Southern University unless they change their minds, that is. They are teenagers after all, albeit smart, mature ones.
“When I was younger, I used to think I wanted to go to college in a big city, but I don’t like really busy places,” Emily said. “We went to a city to watch a game once. I looked around me and all those people milling about made me uneasy. I once thought I wanted to go to Georgia, but now I think UGA may be too big and busy for me. My mind has changed in the last few years. Besides, Mama thinks Athens is too far away.”
Emily has been playing softball since she was three. Her mother decided to start her early because she thought she was ready, and big sister Mattie was already playing. She loved it immediately and has ever since; also, when she finished, she could go watch her sister play.
“I love it because it’s a distraction from everything else,” Emily said. “It’s a home away from home. I can make friends there with people who support me. When they announced that I’d won that honor at school, I didn’t get to hear the rest of the awards because my teacher, Mrs. Rebecca Shumans said, ‘You got it; you got it.’ She was so loud I missed the rest.”
The coaches for the Lady Pirates’ Softball Team are Lindsay Tillman, Bryan Weaver, and Rebecca Gardner, but they aren’t her only coaches. Her pitching coach, Greg Lewis of Alma, Georgia, has been working with her for five years. They heard about him from one of the girls on the travel team and he found a spot for Emily. He helps her improve her techniques, teaches different pitches and improving speed.
Her travel ball coach is Trey Deloach. She’s been playing with Cage Deloach since she was 12 and in the seventh grade. In travel ball, they name the teams by the coaches’ last names. Cage is an organization based in Odum and started by Rodney Madray, whose daughter played softball too. Emily played every year except one, the year she hurt her back. That day was especially scary for her and her parents.
She was pitching her first tournament when she felt an excruciating pain in her back. After the next pitch she went and told her mother she couldn’t do it anymore.
“It hurts too bad,” she cried.
The doctor discovered that she had two fractures in her L5 vertebrae. No one knew exactly what happened, but she had to wear a back brace for 6 to 8 months. She and her mom would cry every time she couldn’t play. The back brace became such a part of their lives that they nicknamed it Shirley. Finally, Emily became the DJ for the team, and that helped a bit. At least, she was out there with her friends.
She was able to play at the beginning of her freshman year, but she couldn’t do much. She did get to play her last game of Junior Varsity.
Emily is not only a top-notch ball player; she’s also an honor student who’s currently in the top ten of her class. She will graduate Summa cum laude, barring major complications.
“I used to get really stressed out about my grades,” Emily said. “Now I’ve learned to handle stress a little bit better. Right now, I’m taking Marketing Principles, Anatomy, Honors Government and Econ. I guess history is my favorite subject overall because I like to learn about and analyze things.”
“She’s always telling me, ‘there’s a reason that you said that,’” her mother laughed. “I just tell not to practice her psychology on me.
Emily says she’s never really liked politics until this year, but now that she’s had a class in government, she likes it much better. She helped run the polls back on election day, which also allowed her to see how the voting process works. Her AP psychology class, which was interactive and hands on, was fun. The students had to carry a baby around for a week. She loved that experience.
She’s considering a career in early childhood and thinking about being a child psychologist. So many kids need help. She is currently babysitting 3 children and looks forward to helping them with their homework and playing with them. She realized that not all kids have the support at home that she has been blessed with. One of her favorite high school classes has been her Early Childhood class where she helped in the classroom. Emily loves children and looks forward to working with them in some capacity or other.
Emily is the daughter of Andrea and Doug Bass. Andrea is convinced that keeping children engaged in worthwhile activities that they love will keep them out of trouble. The theory has certainly worked well with her two girls.