“You need a really good connection with your catcher. They need to know a lot about you, and you need to know a lot about them, so that they can help you and you can help them when you’re in a slump.”
R: What’s your name?
H: Haylie Vaught
R: How long have you played softball?
H: 4 or 5 years
R: What got you started?
H: In school those KYSA sheets. There was one for softball and I begged my mom and she said no at first but I kept begging and then finally she gave in.
R: Was your dad on board from the get go?
H: I think it was more the second season. The first season I was little so it wasn’t like I was for sure going to keep playing but then in the second season I started pitching and that’s when he Googled pitching videos and got really into it.
R: What was it that made you fall in love with softball?
H: Pitching probably
R: 62 is your number correct? Why did you choose 62? That’s kind of an odd number.
H: My newest team borrowed jersey’s from somewhere else because we played our first tournament and they were out of Silverton so we borrowed the Silverton Foxes jersey’s and mine said 62. Then I just kept it when we got new ones.
R: Obviously you’re a pitcher. Do you play any other positions?
H: First and outfield
R: Between first and outfield which one is your favorite?
H: First cause they get more action.
R: Do you wear a facemask?
H: Yeah and I have my chest guard.
R: A chest guard?
H: I don’t have to wear it but my parents make sure I’m fully protected because we’ve seen girls that get hit with the ball and have been hit when it comes right back to them. This protects my heart and chest area if a ball comes back. A girl on one of my old teams took one in the clavicle area and she had to go to the hospital. She got scared and never played again so we just don’t want that to happen.
R: So you’re in 7th grade correct? And how old are you when you‘re in 7th?
R: That’s a pivotal time. Your dad is telling me you might try out for volleyball.
H: Yeah for school but I don’t know because they have practices three times a week. I also need to be home to do homework and I have practice for softball. Also, I could miss out on my pitching lessons or practices once my team starts up again for spring so I don’t know if I should or not.
R: So what are your goals? Both short term and long term.
H: To win first a whole bunch in the spring time and then also to be on McNary’s varsity team.
R: Do you want to go play in college?
R: Do you have any colleges in mind?
H: UCLA, Oregon, Florida are my three. I like the bows in their hair in Florida, how they have the sunflowers.
R: So you must watch the World Series?
H: At my grandma’s house. I go there on the weekends because we’re really close to them. I’ll sit there on the computer for like 8 hours and just watch softball game after softball game.
R: Is there a softball player that you look up to?
H: I like the Oregon Ducks pitcher Cheridan Hawkins. She’s reeeealy good.
R: What is one thing you are working on for the off season?
H: Well, with my pitching coach we are breaking everything down, just to make sure that my pitch is smoother and faster going into 14U next season. I want to go into spring firing with a really strong fastball.
R: Is it hard to keep a good mentality while you are breaking everything down?
H: Well it’s hard because you can do one thing really well in the pitch, but then forget another really important thing. You do one thing right, but then you do the other thing wrong so that gets frustrating but after you do it for a while then you can do it all together.
R: Let’s talk about slumps. I’m sure you have probably been in a pitching slump or a hitting slump. What’s the most frustrating thing about it, and how do you get out of it?
H: It’s that when you want to do it so bad, but people don’t believe you. I think what I have done is just suck it up and practice every single day. I was in a slump for so long that I almost quit softball. I don’t even remember how it ended, but I guess I just started practicing every single day and showed everyone how bad I wanted it.
R: Getting out of that slump, who do you think was your biggest supporter?
H: Probably my pitching coach. My parents were really supportive too but she kind of knew the mindset of the game more. She taught me what she would do when she was in a slump.
R: What are your go to pitches?
H: Drop ball or inside curve.
R: And what are you working hardest on right now?
H: My drop ball. Sometimes it drops and sometimes it doesn’t, so I need it to drop every time. I am starting to learn what I did wrong that made it not drop so that I can fix it.
R: When you are in the circle and you need a little extra support mentally who do you rely on to pick you up?
H: My catcher. She is the one that will call time out and come make sure I am ok. We talk for just a brief 20 seconds and I am back at it. She just helps bring up my confidence and energy.
R: So how big of a role do you think the friendship of the pitcher and catcher plays?
H: I think it’s huge, because they have to work together. They can’t be a rude catcher and a really hard working pitcher. That just doesn’t go together. You need a really good connection with you catcher and they need to know a lot about you, and you need to know a lot about them, so that they can help you and you can help them.
R: Who is your biggest hero? And why?
H: My parents. They are always there for me and they make sure I am to practice on time, and that I have my gear and they are always there to support me and are involved.
R: What do you think makes a great teammate and a great coach?
H: I think a good coach is on you all the time, but not on you in a mean way, because mean coaches are hard to work with. And I think that good teammates are when you all get along and you’re all friends and you all want to win. Right now Rage is full of girls that want to get better and want to win, and we all get along, so they are great teammates.
R: What are your goals outside of softball as you get older?
H: To go to college, and to keep having good grades and stay out of trouble, because that could lead to a punishment of no softball. Like if my grades are lower than a B, I can’t go to softball practice. That’s my parent’s rule, they are pretty strict about my grades, but it’s good.
R: How do you prepare for a game?
H: My mom makes me two hard boiled eggs and a piece of toast. And sometimes I get Dutch Brothers, oh and I take a shower because that wakes me up. Then I listen to some music.
R: Ok, so a little bit about you outside of softball. What’s your favorite song?
H: Oh it’s called like “White and Alone” I think. It’s kind of sad but it’s also kind of on the verge of rap. I can’t remember who sings it. It’s sad but it’s really good.
R: What’s your favorite subject in school?
H: It was PE and art. I like my electives best.
R: Favorite TV show?
H: Well I will watch Netflix on my phone, but I just don’t watch it that much. I like “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Sponge Bob”.
R: Outside of softball what do you do for fun?
H: I like to hang out with friends; we go to the movies or the mall. I love shopping. And I spend a lot of time with my family.
R: Ok, final question, why do you wear Ringor?
H: Ok, well so every cleat I have worn have been uncomfortable and I have to get a new pair in the middle of the season. I have the pitching toe now and they don’t get a hole at all, and they are so comfortable, they feel like tennis shoes. My other cleats you can feel the cleats on the inside, and these aren’t like that at all.