Edwards pulls the plug on sports ca­reer

For­mer Catasauqua High star won’t play any­more af­ter bat­tling in­juries last 2 years

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Keith Groller Keith Groller can be reached at 610-820-6740 or at [email protected]

Han­nah Edwards said it was one of the most dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions of her life.

The for­mer Catasauqua High stand­out and two-time Morn­ing Call Softball Player of the Year has de­cided to end her play­ing ca­reer at Le­high be­cause of leg in­juries.

“Softball is a part of who I am, so it’s hard,” said Edwards, who has two years of el­i­gi­bil­ity re­main­ing. “You don’t ex­pect to end your ca­reer this way, but softball was go­ing to end for me one day any­way.

“This was the path I was set to fol­low. There are times I get sad and know that I am go­ing to miss it, but I won’t feel sorry for my­self. I am fo­cus­ing on my next chap­ter.”

As a high school player at Catty from 2013-16, Edwards was an un­stop­pable force. The four­time all-state out­fielder ended her ca­reer as Penn­syl­va­nia’s all-time leader in ca­reer hits (207), runs scored (158) and stolen bases (192) while com­pil­ing a .651 ca­reer bat­ting av­er­age and .696 on-base per­cent­age.

She ac­cepted a schol­ar­ship to play at Pitt and in her one sea­son with the Pan­thers in 2017, Edwards hit .274 with three ex­tra­base hits (all triples) among her 32 hits. She scored 15 runs, stole 11 bases in 15 at­tempts and played in 43 games de­spite suf­fer­ing a fa­cial in­jury.

With things not work­ing out as she had hoped, she trans­ferred to Le­high Univer­sity and was ex­cited to be back in the Le­high Val­ley. How­ever, her time with the Moun­tain Hawks has been marked by in­juries.

Her 2018 sea­son was lim­ited to just eight games by a heel/ Achilles in­jury suf­fered against Duke when she landed awk­wardly while run­ning to first base.

Last spring, she had a groin strain in her right leg, an aching knee and other issues. She played in 30 games, started 24 and bat­ted .273 with 21 hits and 10 runs scored, but she missed most of the last month of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

“I couldn’t work out the whole sum­mer,” Edwards said. “I tried to let it rest and things never re­ally went away. I am at the point where my knee just aches, even with­out phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. Just walk­ing makes it hurt.”

Edwards said she met with Le­high coach Fran Troyan, and he fully sup­ports her de­ci­sion.

“I came to the con­clu­sion that maybe my body is try­ing to tell me some­thing,” she said. “I felt I needed to make a de­ci­sion. I tried to wait it out all sum­mer to see if my body would re­cover, but with speed be­ing my en­tire game, and just be­ing plagued with lower-ex­trem­ity in­juries my whole ca­reer, it’s one of those things where you can only take so much.

“I’ve tried to work hard through ev­ery­thing I went through. I tried ev­ery­thing, so I have no re­grets and it leaves me with peace with this de­ci­sion.”

Edwards, who has made the Pa­triot League Ath­letic Honor Roll sev­eral times, will grad­u­ate on sched­ule next May.

A jour­nal­ism and psy­chol­ogy ma­jor, she will pur­sue a master’s de­gree in higher ed­u­ca­tion and ad­min­is­tra­tion and wants to work in an ath­letic depart­ment one day. Edwards will in­tern with Le­high ath­let­ics this year.

“I still want to be in­volved in softball and ath­let­ics through coach­ing,” she said. “I am try­ing to spin this de­ci­sion in a pos­i­tive way so I can make an im­pact.

“I would tell younger play­ers that softball is not your iden­tity. It’s just some­thing you do and hope­fully you’re good at it. It’s good to fo­cus on it, but it’s also good to find your­self and dis­cover who you are as a per­son. Find pas­sions be­yond the game.

“I have no re­grets be­cause I al­ways worked hard and played the game hard. I’ve learned that if you do that, the game will re­pay you in ways you never imag­ined.”

COREY PER­RINE/AP

In­juries have dogged Le­high softball player Han­nah Edwards the last two years and, af­ter be­ing un­able to work out this sum­mer, she has de­cided the time is right to give up the sport.

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