Catasauqua Press

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hannah Edwards returns to Valley

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 by jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

Hannah Edwards is coming home.

The former Catasauqua standout who rewrote the Roughies’ softball record books, as well as numerous state records in a storied high school career, is returning to the Lehigh Valley to continue her collegiate career at Lehigh University next season.

Edwards spent her freshman season at the University of Pittsburgh last season where she hit .274 with 15 runs, three triples, and 11 stolen bases in 43 games.

However, the two-time Pennsylvania Player of the Year didn’t see her Pitt experience as a good fit.

“I think Pitt just wasn’t right for me,” said Edwards. “I am very grateful for my year there and to all of the staff with the Pitt program.

“But I realized that I needed to make a change. I am very happy to join a prestigious team like Lehigh and it will be good to be back at home.”

Edwards also had trouble adjusting to the Pittsburgh’s rural surroundings, a change she initially anticipated.

“At first, I thought living in a big city would be cool,” she said. “But then I began to miss living around an environment like it was at home. I missed seeing the trees and nature. It was pretty around Pitt, but I missed the country atmosphere.

“It was an ongoing process for me throughout the season, but I began to realize more and more that it wasn’t quite right.”

Edwards received her release from Pitt at the end of the season, and offers from other colleges began to follow. She had been contacted by Lehigh, but Edwards also received a flattering contact.

“I got a call from the University of Michigan,” said Edwards. “She (head coach Carol Hutchins) is one of the greatest coaches in the country and I was very flattered.

“I got some other offers from big schools and it was a very humbling experience.

“But I knew that Lehigh would be the best fit for me.”

Edwards also will welcome the less rigorous schedule of playing in the Patriot League instead of the ACC. Lehigh, which has won 14 Patriot League titles, is an annual contender.

“It was great playing in the ACC and playing teams like Florida State and Nebraska,” Edwards said. “But it’s a very demanding schedule as we were flying out every weekend to play somewhere. Still, playing in that conference will help me.

“Coming back and playing in the Patriot League won’t be a breeze. There is a high level of competition that usually results in an NCAA tournament bid. It also is a lot less travel than it was.”

Edwards also is grateful to have her family and friends being able to watch her play on a regular basis. Her older brother, Zac, recently completed a stellar four-year baseball career at Lebanon Valley College.

She has three years of eligibility remaining.

“This will be a benefit to my family and friends,” Edwards said. “I am very proud of what my brother has accomplished. He worked very hard and had a nice career.”

Unlike other summers, Edwards plans to step away from competitive softball and take a lighter approach with her own workouts. She will also concentrate on her class schedule.

“My goal now is take a break,” she said. “I’ll enjoy the summer and then start to get ready for classes. It is good to get away from the game both physically and mentally. People don’t realize that it can be a mental strain as well.

“I’m excited about joining the Lehigh program and I will be ready when fall ball starts.”

It also will be the beginning of another chapter in Edward’s impressive career that will extend in her backyard.