Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

April 25, 2014

GC Softball: Hubbard's Olivia Curtis signs with Mary Hardin Baylor

HUBBARD — Don't blame Melissa Curtis for dropping a few tears on Friday morning.

This wasn't just a signing ceremony for her daughter, Olivia Curtis, who signed with Mary Hardin Baylor in front of a large crowd of family, coaches and friends at Hubbard, where the room was decorated with balloons and pictures and memorabilia of Olivia's' brilliant career on the mound for the Lady Jaguars.

No, this was much more. This was a celebration.

Among the dozens of photos of Olivia, who started playing softball at 8 years old, was a purple back brace. It sat in the corner of the long signing table, tucked away to itself, but in sight of anyone who cared to take a look.

At one point, Melissa pointed to the brace. She broke down in tears.

That brace is more than symbolic of what her daughter has accomplished in a journey full of heart and passion and ambition and a will to never quit.

Olivia spent three months wearing that purple back brace, three long and bitter months when she thought she might never play softball again. Two stress fractures in her back took her off the mound and put her in the back brace.

That was her freshman year at Hubbard, a year she will never forget.

Now they will never forget Olivia, who won 44 games and struck out 380 batters over the last three years at Hubbard, where she has helped the Lady Jags emerge as a state power.

“I wore the back brace for three months and I never thought I would play again,'' Curtis said Friday morning. “Then I re-fractured it my sophomore year.''

Still, she never quit — when quitting would have been easy — and took the mound with a devastating fastball and courage to finish her career at Hubbard.

“The summer of my junior year I told my dad that I wanted to play. I told him I didn't want to look back and regret not trying,'' Olivia said. “Today is unbelievable. This is a dream come true. Having it taken away and fighting to get it back when it wasn't there makes it even better.''

Olivia is 18-3-1 this season and Hubbard is in the heart of the playoffs with the dream of winning  state title, which would cap off Olivia's brilliant career.

“She is the whole package,'' Hubbard softball Coach Mike Saucke said. “She's a great kid and a great kid in class. She has unbelievable control and she throws hard and has a devastating changeup. She can throw in the low 60s and then throw her changeup at 30 mph. I think it's unfair. You just laugh when you see it.''

Olivia has struck out 167 batters while walking just 22 this season, an she has a 1.57 ERA — and she has a 3.7 GPA.

“Mary Hardin Baylor is getting a diamond in the rough,'' Saucke said. “She's a Division I pitcher.''

Olivia has always wanted to play softball.

“I went to my first Baylor game when I was 7,'' she said. “I saw Lisa Ferguson pitch and I told my dad that day: 'This is what I want to do,' My parents did everything for me. My first pitching coach was Baylor Coach Brittany Newman, and when I was 13 we changed coaches and I had Reggie Graves for my pitching coach.''

It wasn't exactly an auspicious beginning.

Olivia's first game on the mound cane when she was 8. She didn't retire anyone.

“I walked everyone on the other team,'' she said. “Every single batter. Then they took me out of the game. I didn't throw my first strike until my second game.''

But even after walking everyone, Olivia had no plans on quitting.

“I told my dad after that game that I loved it,'' she said. “My parents thought I wanted to quit.''

She never did.

When she was 10 er select team, which included Hubbard teammates Kate Saucke and Amy Anz, won the national 10-and-under tournament in Kansas City. Olivia was voted the tournament's MVP Offensive Player. She can hit as well as pitch.

Last summer she went to Mary Hardin Baylor's summer camp and fell in love with the program.

“I told them I wanted to play there and committed to them right then and there,'' Olivia said.

Then she waited for signing day.

Well, for the Celebration Day …

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • 7-30-14 Davis.jpg Former Cowboy Keith Davis delivers motivational speech

    Keith Davis believes in dreams.
    He lived his.
    That was one of the messages Davis, a former Dallas Cowboys safety, delivered to a standing-room-only crowd of youngsters Tuesday at the Boys & Girls Club, where he spoke with enthusiasm and energy about life inside and outside of the NFL.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30 web Wortham TTBA picture.jpg TTBB: Wortham takes second at state tournament

    The Wortham Bulldogs made an impressive run at the Texas Teenage Baseball Association High School Eligible State Tournament in Buffalo and took second in the state.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29-14 tiger sharks.jpg Tiger Sharks make splash at state meet

    There are leaps and bounds, and then there's what the Corsicana YMCA Tiger Sharks did over the weekend at the Lone Star state swimming meet in Frisco.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-27 Shimonek all-star.jpg Mildred's Shimonek transferring from Iowa, will walk on at Texas Tech

    Former Mildred quarterback and Golden Circle Del Thrash Player of the Year Nic Shimonek is leaving the University of Iowa after one red-shirt year and transferring to Texas Tech because of Iowa's pro-style offense.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • RON MORGAN.jpg Morgan; Remembering House and a better era

    The Cowboys started training camp the same week that Robert Newhouse died.
    In a way, that’s very unfortunate for Jerry. Thinking back to the “Human Bowling Ball” and the teams of that era might lead to the inevitable comparisons to today’s product on the field.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • weights.jpg GC Football: Blooming Grove's Williams expects to win

    His father was a head coach for years at Pecos High and his brother-in-law is the head football coach at DeSoto, but Lawrence Williams Jr., a man who loves coaching football, never had any ideas about being the head man.
    “I love coaching,'' said Williams as he sat at his desk in Blooming Grove, where he became the Lions' head coach this summer. “I just never thought about being the head coach and I never applied to be a head coach. With this job I can still coach.''

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kevin Reese mug.jpg Outdoors: Kevin Reese: Summer time means summer tracking

    With only two months before opening day of archery season you should already have your bow maintenance complete, be shooting daily and chomping at the bit for our favorite day to arrive!
    Let’s face it, few animals turn our rotors like whitetail deer.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-State Baseball: Corsicana's Harlan and Wolver honored on TSWA/Collin Street Bakery 4A All-State Baseball team

    Corsicana junior Brady Harlan and sophomore Layton Wolver were honored on the Texas Sports Writers Association/Collin Street Bakery Class 4A All-State Baseball team that was announced Tuesday night.

    July 22, 2014

  • 7-23-14 Kayana.jpg Gymnastics: Kaylana Dickson celebrates national title with fans and her uncle David Hawthorne

    Kaylana Dickson got the name Bebop on her way to winning a national title in gymnastics this summer, and boy did it catch fire.
    Kaylana, a Corsicana native, picked up fans from all over the country and many bought Bebop T-shirts to help pay her expenses to Spokane, Wa., where she won the 8-and-under title in the double-mini trampoline event and finished third in floor exercise.
    More than 100 of her friends, family members and fans showed up at the Corsicana YMCA on Saturday to celebrate the national title and be on hand for a drawing for an autographed New Orleans Saints football jersey from David Hawthorne, a star defensive lineman for the Saints and Kaylana's uncle

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-State Baseball: TSWA/Collin Street Bakery All-State 3A baseball team is announced

    The Texas Sports Writers Association/Collin Street Bakery Class 3A All-State Baseball Team was announced Tuesday.

     

    July 22, 2014