Dish may have “The Hopper,” but Austin Peay University one upped the satellite network Thursday, by signing “The Hooper” to a softball scholarship at Walker Valley.
Lady Mustangs’ outstanding pitcher Sidney Hooper signed papers to play softball for the Lady Governors in front of a throng of family, teammates and well-wishers.
“I am very excited. I have wanted to play college softball my entire life. To actually get to do that is very exciting,” said the rising senior Lady Mustang.
Hooper looked at UTC and East Tennessee State before deciding to head to the Nashville area to continue her education and softball career.
“I met with the coaches, visited there and everything was just great,” said Hooper while waiting to gather with family and friends. “It was a lot of the coaching style I have been used to my whole life. Also, the distance to the campus is good and the campus population is good.”
Lady Mustangs coach Lauren Limburg said softball is just one of Hooper’s outstanding qualities.
“Sidney is a great young lady. She is an excellent softball player and a great student. She just has it all,” said Limburg. “What makes Sidney really special is she is a hard worker and she is willing to do whatever it takes to make her team successful. She is a team player. She is about Walker Valley getting wins. She works extremely hard and has worked extremely hard to get where she is today. I’m super proud of her.”
Hooper’s work ethic and pitching skills have made her a well known commodity in softball circles. She says her attitude and skill level are two positives she will take with her to Austin Peay.
“I just want to be the best I can and work hard,” said the future biology major and physical therapist.
Limburg also said her star hurler will not only improve her game while in college, she will make the Lady Govs a better softball team.
“I think she will exceed their expectations. She will continue to work hard. She is a great pitcher. She’s got movement, she’s got speed, she is an excellent hitter, she is a defender and she can play anywhere on the field,” she said. “She will be a huge asset to Austin Peay and she will make them a better ball team.”
Hooper understands cracking the starting lineup for the Lady Govs is anything but a given. Her plans are to continue to work hard, train hard and eventually walk to the circle as a starter.
“I will have to work for it. I will have to work all fall and spring to get a starting position,” she said. “I will have to work on specific things, pitching-wise. I plan to continue to work on hitting my spots and my locations. (As far as) batting, I will keep the same lines I have always had to compete.”
The Walker Valley coach said there should be no major obstacles in Hooper’s transition to the college game.
“I think she will be able to jump right in there and be successful. I don’t think she will have any trouble whatsoever. I feel she will get in there, start in their workouts, start in their program and will excel,” said Limburg. “I don’t think she will have any trouble breaking into the starting lineup. She will get in there, show what she’s got, showcase her talent and work ethic and I think that will propel her to a starting spot. She’s got what it takes.”