OSKALOOSA — This week’s featured softball player is Oskaloosa sophomore Hayle Elizabeth Hacker. Hacker is the daughter of Jason and Shannon Hacker.
Hacker is number 13 on the softball team, and her primary position is pitcher. While Hacker strictly stays on the mound, she said she feels comfortable playing right field if needed.
Hacker was born on July 9, 2003 in Marion. She has lived in Oskaloosa her whole life.
Hacker began playing T-ball at the age of five and moved onto the Sweet Heat traveling team when she was eight years old. She was a pitcher and played right field during her Sweet Heat career.
Hacker’s love for the game began when she joined the Sweet Heat.
“I loved the girls on that team, it was so much fun,” Hacker said. “My dad was the coach too, which had a big impact. He made the game a lot of fun for me.”
One of Hacker’s funniest softball moments came during a tournament while playing for the Sweet Heat.
“One time while we were in a tournament, I was trying to slap hit and I ended up tripping over my laces and fell right outside the batter's box,” Hacker said. “The umpire laughed at me and reminded me that was still a strike.”
Hacker has been a part of the Oskaloosa softball team for a few years now and said one memorable moment came at the beginning of this season.
“When we were in an Osky tournament on the weekend, Macie Krier was warming me up, and a bird with a broken wing landed in Macie’s glove and started attacking her,” Hacker said.
As the season is in full swing, Hacker is staying true to the one goal she set out to accomplish at the beginning of the season.
“I want to finish a lot of games during the week because I knew we had a lot of games back to back,” Hacker said. “Tuesday night was pretty hard to finish because I pitched at the beginning of the week.”
A few of Hacker’s lasting friendships come from playing with girls throughout her career on the team. When asked whom she’d want by her side during a zombie apocalypse, she chose one current teammate.
“I’d want Ashley Kindley,” Hacker said. “She has a great batting average, and that’s hard to do so I know I can trust her.”
Hacker was quick to acknowledge all the great things Alexis Groet has done for Oskaloosa softball, and said she’d love for her to come back another season.
“Alexis has helped me a lot with pitching,” Hacker said. “I would love to see her do another high school softball game.”
This year’s softball team has a lot of great personalities, and Hacker said one person who always makes her laugh is Makenna Schaffner.
“Makenna is so funny because she never stops making jokes,” Hacker said.
As for Hacker’s pregame rituals, she listens to anything and everything before games. She puts her playlist on shuffle and goes with the flow. As for a pregame snack, Hacker loves fruit, more specifically pineapple.
Besides playing at Oskaloosa, Hacker loves playing at Eddyville.
“I love playing at Eddyville because I love beating them,” Hacker said. “I have a lot of friends that play for them that I was teammates with on the Sweet Heat.”
While softball takes up a majority of Hacker’s athletic career, she also plays tennis for Oskaloosa.
“Being on the tennis court is definitely not as much pressure as being on the softball field,” Hacker said. “I got into tennis because Ashley Kindley talked me into it. I figured if I was bad at it then oh well.”
Tennis turned out to become a sport Hacker enjoys, and she mentioned she will continue playing it next year.
Besides sports, Hacker loves to go to the lake with family and friends, going camping at Rathbun or Redrock, and taking naps.
Hacker’s high school career has been short so far, as she’s only been there two years, but she’s glad she’s endured the pressure of sophomore year.
“I’m so thankful I’ve doubled up everything this past year,” Hacker said. “It’s now out of the way and I don’t have to worry about it.”
Hacker said her favorite subject is science, as it’s interesting to her and doesn’t make her want to fall asleep. Hacker also mentioned her favorite teacher is Mr. Sheeley.
“Mr. Sheeley is a very funny guy,” Hacker said. “He was always there to help me with my math when other teachers couldn’t.”
As for Hacker’s favorite athlete, she went with past Missouri Softball pitcher, Chelsea Thomas. Thomas was born in Des Moines and attended Pleasantville High School. Thomas also pitched for Team USA. Hacker also mentioned Thomas’s dad is her pitching coach.
To end the interview, Hacker shared a Bible scripture that means a lot to her. It’s Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”