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Haverford’s Kerri McCallum is Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week

The senior third baseman was a key factor in the Fords’ drive to their first-ever PIAA 6A state softball championship final last spring, and has continued her strong hitting this season (.533 batting average, 16 hits, 13 runs, 9 RBIs) as Haverford is off to a 9-0 start as of April 25. Last year, McCallum batted .516 with 8 doubles, 4 home runs, a .828 slugging percentage, 22 RBIs, 19 runs scored and only 5 strikeouts. She received first team All-Main Line softball honors and is noted for her power and consistency at the plate, and her vocal leadership. Off the field, McCallum participates in Best Buddies and is a fundraising officer for that organization. In the fall, she will head to Lock Haven University, where she will play softball and study nursing.


Q: What do you think has been the most important thing you’ve learned recently regarding hitting?


A: The most important thing I have learned is the quality of work you put in, not the quantity. By focusing on my technical skills more than the amount of time I am spending during batting practice, I have seen a major increase in my batting percentage.


Q: How do you see your on-field leadership role as an infielder/third baseman?


A: My on-field leadership role is to keep everyone calm, focused, and of course in a happy mood. By stating where the plays could be, one-on-one conversations, and jokes here and there, our infield is incredibly solid. As [coach Bob] Newman says, “We do defense best.”


Q: As a hitter, after facing a pitcher a couple of times in a game, you probably have a better idea of what she’s going to throw you late in a game. Can you give us an example of how this has worked in your favor?


A: In my recent game against Marple, I popped up during my first at-bat. I noticed after every inside pitch she threw me, a change-up was coming right after. In my second at-bat, I fouled off the first couple of inside pitches and change-ups. I then followed by turning on an inside ball and hitting my first home run of the season.


Q: What aspect of your game did you work on most during the past off-season?


A: After the loss in the 2021 PIAA 6A Championship, it hit not only my team but me extremely hard. I was losing all 10 seniors who I have played with since I was in elementary school. I was broken. During the summer I tried to enjoy my travel ball but couldn’t stop thinking about what I did wrong during that game. I then realized I was thinking the wrong way. I started thinking about softball to a deeper level and the mental aspect of the game. I rewatched almost all of my games from both travel and school ball figuring out what I could’ve done better, rather than what I did wrong. 


Q: What is your favorite memory from the Fords’ 2021 season, where you advanced to the PIAA 6A state championship game?


A: I don’t know if I could pick one singular memory that was my favorite. Everything about the season was great. The team. The journey. The environment. The experience. But, something I will always remember is during the beginning of that season. Mr. Newman told all the seniors to not plan anything for the summer because the PIAA 6A state championship game was at Penn State that year. We all looked at him like he had 10 heads, thinking we would never ever make it that far.


Q: Tell us a little about your start in softball. What attracted you to the “hot corner” (third base)?


A: I started softball when I was around 4 years old. I always played middle infield and a little bit of pitcher. As I got older my arm started to get stronger which then led me over to the corner. I love being able to control the infield with my shortstop and pitcher, Shannon Gavigan and Emma Taylor.


Q: Who have been your biggest softball mentors, and what was the most important thing each of them taught you about baseball?


A: My biggest softball mentors are my travel coaches (Dennis Moran and Bernadette Sirkin) and my school coaches (Bob Newman, Jill Marshall, and Amber Millison). Dennis and Bern delivered the sport to me when I was young and have taught me everything I have to know about it today. Bob, Jill, and Amber are the reason I am at third base today and I will always remember the 2021 run we had. All my coaches throughout my softball career have supported me and made me realize the love I have for the game. 


Q: What has been your favorite experience in club softball?


A: My favorite experience is growing with my teammates. I have played either with or against the same group of girls since I was 10 and it’s amazing to see all of us grow and pursue our dreams.


Q: You wear uniform jersey No. 13 for Haverford High softball – was there a reason you chose this number – does this number have any significance to you?


A: The story behind this one is kinda funny. When I joined Haverford High Softball No. 8 had already been occupied. I have always worn No. 8 for softball. When I played soccer back in my early teens I wore No. 5. Adding those numbers together you get 13. 


Q: Tell us a little about your pre-game preparation the day of a game.


A: My pregame preparation consists of being by myself and taking in what and who I am about to play. I like to listen to music and really calm myself down. Once I get to the field it is another story. My energy and adrenaline comes out and does not leave until I step off the field. 


Q: Tell us a little about your participation in Best Buddies.


A: Best Buddies consists of students that create opportunities for other students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I joined this club my sophomore year and signed up to have a peer buddy. I was interviewed and now, being in my senior year I am with the same buddy, Jacob Taylor. At the end of my sophomore year, I was asked to be an officer and have been a fundraising officer since. 


Q: What is your favorite academic course at Haverford High? What do you think you might like to major in at Lock Haven University? Is there a career field that particularly interests you at the present time?


A: My favorite academic course would have to be Anatomy and Physiology. When I attend Lock Haven next year I will be taking classes to major in nursing. I have always been interested in nursing since I was little and can’t wait to continue to pursue my dream. 


Fun facts – Kerri McCallum

Favorite book: Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls.

Favorite author: Dr. Seuss.

Favorite TV show: Survivor.

Favorite movie: Blind Side.

Favorite athlete: Fletcher Cox.

Favorite pre-game pump-up song: Hotel Room Service – Pitbull.

Favorite team: Phillies.

Favorite place to visit: Jim Thorpe, PA

Favorite pre-game meal: “My homemade garlic oil pasta.”

Person I most admire, and why: “Erin McCallum, my big sister. I have always looked up to her since I was little. I might not have shown it in the best ways, like stealing her clothes but I have always wanted to be just like her. Erin is strong, beautiful, independent, and I will always look up to her for the rest of my life.”

Family members: parents Pat and Crissy, brother Patrick, sister Erin and dog Champ.


(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)

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