Hard work has paid off for North Hagerstown senior Allysen Breeden.
The Hubs’ star catcher — a Herald-Mail All-County First Team selection in 2010 — signed a letter of intent on Wednesday to play softball for Rider University, an NCAA Division I program in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
The signing was the culmination of a long road that includes eight years in the Frederick Heartbreakers travel organization and a successful prep career — the final chapter of which has yet to be written. Hubs coach Amanda Fleming and Heartbreakers 18U coach Terry Burdette both spoke about Breeden’s work ethic at the signing.
“It’s great just to hear a different perspective of how others see you, and to hear them say such encouraging and positive things,” said Breeden, who received both an athletic and academic scholarship.
“She continues to work hard day after day, and her hard work pays off for her,” Fleming said. “She gets better each practice because of the hard work she puts into each practice. ... A lot of her teammates look up to her because of the effort she puts into everything she does. She leads by example and makes others want to follow in her footsteps.”
Breeden was an All-County Second Team honoree as a sophomore in 2009 after hitting .283 with three doubles, two homers and 12 RBIs. She improved significantly as a junior, earning All-County First Team accolades after hitting .429 with six doubles, one triple, two homers and 21 RBIs.
“Last year, I worked on not pulling as many pitches, because that was a problem,” Breeden said. “I tried to stay back on changeups and hit to all fields. Taking a pitch to right is just as good as hitting it to left.”
“She’s able to go with any pitch a pitcher throws her now, and she has power in all directions,” Fleming said.
Breeden, who gave her verbal commitment to Rider last fall, is off to a sizzling start this season. In her first five games, she hit .588 with two doubles, two triples and six RBIs.
“(Choosing a college) is one of those background stresses you have, and I didn’t even realize it until I gave my commitment,” said Breeden, who said she will major in elementary education and behavioral psychology and minor in sports management. “It was a huge weight off my shoulders and now I can just go out there, play and have fun.”