HUNTERSVILLE – Body size doesn’t guarantee power when hitting a softball. It’s all about bat speed, as Hopewell High’s Patricia Thompson proved.
Thompson, a junior shortstop, isn’t the tallest Titan. Or the stockiest. But when she picked up a bat, she was the most dangerous. Thompson is the Herald Weekly Softball Player of the Year.
She batted .479 with 41 RBIs, the most among lake-area players, in 21 games. Thompson’s 20 extra-base hits included 13 doubles, five triples and two home runs. She scored 28 runs and banged out 35 hits.
“I can hit it pretty far,” Thompson said, laughing. “I’ve always heard that because of my size I should turn around, bat left-handed and be a slap hitter. I love it when I see the outfielders moving in. It makes me want to hit the ball a long way.”
Thompson consistently did just that. She had hits in 18 of 21 games. She had 10 games with two or more RBIs. And Thompson wasn’t a free swinger just hoping to make contact, evidenced by her batting average and one strikeout in 82 plate appearances.
“After every at-bat, I would immediately go over what I did wrong or right,” she said. "Keeping my hands up or staying on top of the ball. I’d try to learn from my mistakes.”
Thompson had two triples in a 3-for-3 game against West Charlotte; two doubles and five RBIs in a game against Mallard Creek; and three hits and four runs against Vance. The zenith came April 21 against West Charlotte when Thompson was 4-for-4 with 11 RBIs, including two doubles, a triple and a home run.
“Patricia is very humble, kind-hearted and hard-working,” Hopewell coach Dana Catchpole said. “Patricia's determination to never settle is what brings her to the next level. She is the player you want up with two outs in the bottom of the seventh because she will find a way to get the job done. No matter what team we are up against, she brings the same determination, attitude and spirit day in and day out.”