Finding self-motivation leading to Ferguson’s softball success


BEAVERCREEK — Those that found success against Haley Ferguson early in her softball career should be relishing the accomplishments. There’s not many who are able to do well today.

The Beavercreek senior is a terror to opposing hitters as one of the top high school pitchers in the nation. Boasting a fastball comfortably reaching the mid-60s and possessing a curveball that frequently deceives umpires, batters rarely are able to step up to the plate feeling at ease.

“I just always have wanted to work harder, make it to a big college, and just kind of leave my mark,” Ferguson said. “Earlier in my career, I kind of faced some struggles where I wasn’t performing as well and it just drove me by facing those early setbacks. I really believe that shaped me to be the player I am today.”

It is tough to see her having any difficulties seeing her performances over the last four years.

Ferguson has not won the GWOC’s Player of the Year award in her career, but that is likely to change in 2024. The stats she is putting up this season would make Shohei Ohtani blush.

She entered the final week of the regular season as the league’s leader in multiple categories, including ERA, wins, strikeouts, shutouts, and WHIP. But she has not just been stellar in the circle as she also is the league’s leading home run hitter. She also ranks second in RBI and on base percentage, and is in the top-10 for batting average.

“She’s an amazing pitcher, but she’s also an amazing hitter,” head coach Megan Rawlins said. “You could put her anywhere on the field. She’s a great base runner, and you know you can always count of her to take care of whatever role you put her in.”

Ferguson could win the league’s pitching triple crown for a third time after doing so as a freshman and sophomore and was only one win short of the mark during her junior season.

A 16 strikeout performance against Northmont on Friday moved her into first place on the all-time strikeout list in the GWOC. She is nearing her own goal set out before the season began and has a chance still to reach 1,000 with a deep run in the state tournament.

“I want to get to 900 career strikeouts, I think I’m on pace to get that,” Ferguson said. “But I also want to hit around .500 and I’m getting there.”

Despite her success in hitting home runs, she admitted she’s never trying to smack balls over the fence. Creating solid contact and hitting line drives are what she focuses on each time she steps up to the plate. The ball going over the fence as much as it has for her has been a bonus.

“I just always want to hit the ball hard,” she said. “It frustrates me when I don’t square it up. I just love that feeling and I think that’s what motivates me the most.”

A frequent smile displayed off the diamond, she flips the switch when it comes time to own the circle. Fist pumps after strikeouts, of which there are plenty, are one of the few instances she lets her focus wane before getting set for the next hitter.

“She acts in a way all leaders should,” Rawlins said. “There’s always some sort of encouragement in a way that makes some fire arise from others.”

Ferguson is committed to the University of Michigan to continue her career. She said despite growing up as an Ohio State fan, she has always liked the Wolverines softball program that has won the Big Ten title more times than any other league program and the connection with their coaches played a big part in making it feel like it would be her future home.

Her current one still has some unfinished business to take care of as she is attempting to lead her Beavercreek team toward a potential GWOC championship for the first time since 2008. Their run to the regional finals during her freshman season is still fresh on the mind too, as she is hoping for a second chance to qualify for state.

Figuring out what drives her has gotten Ferguson this far in her career. Whether it is playing in memory of her top fan and grandmother, getting strong parental support, or taking in the rare struggle and learning how to overcome it.

Nothing is showing it will slow her down on the path to success.

“Staying driven and leaning on God,” Ferguson said. “Gaining that relationship with Him is big for me, and with that knowing if I keep working hard it all starts with how hard you work to where you get achieve success. Nothing’s given and you need to take every set back as a lesson and go from there.”

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on X (formerly Twitter) @Steven_Wright_.

No posts to display