By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
At McNary High School, Hannah Bouska delivered hits that helped lift the Lady Celt softball team in to the state semifinals in 2010. Now she’s doing the same for the Oregon State University Beavers.
“A lot of credit goes to our coaches,” said Bouska, who leads the Beaver roster at the plate, she’s hitting .370 with 29 hits 19 runs scored and 16 RBIs. “Coach [Geoff] Hirai and Coach [Laura] Berg have both been working with me and the rest of the players on the team to improve our slapping and hitting overall.”
The right fielder and utility player is also among the top ten hitters in all of Pac-12 softball.
Bouska, who played shortstop for the Lady Celts, joined a struggling OSU team right after high school, but the recent infusion of new coaches had the team riding a nine-game win streak in the preseason. It was snapped last weekend by a 4-1 loss to Florida International University in Fullerton Calif.
“We all want to make it to the postseason, but our goals go way further. We want to be in the World Series and we’re working harder than we’ve ever worked and working harder than any other team,” Bouska, a sophomore women’s studies major, said.
Bouska said making the switch from high school to college ball required resetting her mentality.
“We had a really good team at McNary in my senior year, but I was one of the standouts. It took some time for me to get used to being one of a bunch of other really good players,” she said.
She said even though she frequently butted heads with Celtic Head Coach Jeff Auvinen, the understanding she finally came to in her senior year has proven invaluable at the college level.
“It helped me to realize that everyone wants to win in different ways,” she said. “It helps now because our team really connects and we want each other to succeed. That gives us all confidence up at the plate and out on the field.”
For high school athletes, particularly those looking to make a leap to college ball a variety of experience is important, she said.
“You definitely have to work hard, but travel ball and ASA give lots of coaches the opportunity to notice you,” she said.