Hannah Edwards adapting to Pitt
It’s the word Hannah Edwards often uses to describe her first-year as a member of the University of Pittsburgh softball team. The former Catasauqua standout and three-time All-State choice, who graduated last season as arguably the most talented Roughie ever in the program and one of the more prolific to play in the Lehigh Valley, has been gradually adapting to her new world of college softball.
Based on the early results, Edwards isn’t encountering too many obstacles. Over the first 36 games, Edwards is among the team leaders in hits (32), stolen bases (11 of 14 attempts) and hitting a team fifth-best .286.
Even though it shouldn’t come as a major surprise for someone who rewrote the Roughies’ record book as well as several entries in the state, league and district dockets, Edwards has viewed the situation in its proper perspective.
“It is definitely a transition from high school,” Edwards said recently. “It’s been going from playing the Palmerton, Northern Lehigh, and Northwestern to playing Notre Dame, Florida State, Nebraska and all big-time schools,” Edwards said. “That’s a big change.
“The talent level is different, but the game still is the same in many ways.”
Through it all, Edwards has learned to continue to master her time-management skills. It is an art Edwards honed in high school as she consistently was the top student in her class.
“Playing at Division I, you basically have time to eat, practice, study, and play the game,” she added. “I always have valued my time and learned how to budget it well. I have all of my classes on one day, beginning at 10 in the morning and ending at 8:30 in the evening. Besides that, it is basically practice, studying, and games on the weekend.
“It definitely has been a huge transition getting the hang of it.”
Edwards feels comfortable with her game, but she can’t afford any letdowns. Her experience in extensive travel softball during the offseason in high school has proved to be an invaluable experience.
“Every pitcher is a great pitcher,” Edwards said. “They are really able to move the ball and they rarely make mistakes. You have to keep your head in the game on every pitch. There really isn’t an easy moments.
“You see a lot of pitches on the black and you have to be ready. It is really a matter of timing. The speed that I have seen isn’t that much different from playing travel ball. It is about placement of the ball.”
Edwards admits that it hasn’t been a huge transition stealing bases.
“Running the bases pretty much has been the same,” Edwards said. “The major adjustment has been about hitting. It has been a smooth transition with that aspect.
“But it is amazing how the little things and different aspects of the game that the coaches have brought up to me that I never realized before. It is such a huge jump being a Division I athlete. It’s really amazing.”
Overall, Edwards has liked the path that has been created.
“I feel pretty comfortable right now,” she said. “I like my classes and I’m playing against some of the best players and teams in the country. I think I have adjusted well and it definitely has been different.
“It really wasn’t too overwhelming from the start for me, and I got more used to everything. Our season is about half way over, and I’m still learning something new every single day.”
Edwards is pursuing a degree in rehabilitation sciences toward a career as a physical therapist. Her life at Pitt has been everything she has expected.
“I thought in high school about how college would be,” she said. “It was a little different from what I expected at first, but it really has worked out well.
“I am very happy about it, and I am looking forward to growing in many ways.”
Based on her beginnings, Pittsburgh’s softball program is having the same feeling.