CLEVELAND — White County softball has come a long way since Stephanie Satterfield stepped on the field.
After years of disappointing, and often losing seasons, the Lady Warriors reached the Class AAA state playoffs all four years Satterfield was on the team and culminated their rise to elite status this year with a state championship.
“I didn’t do it by myself,” Satterfield said. “I know none of this would have happened without my teammates. We talked all season about how we were a family, and not just a regular team.”
Satterfield was certainly the head of the family though. Along with hitting .435 with 16 home runs and 53 RBIs, she amassed a 14-3 record and a 1.44 ERA in the circle during the championship season.
For her efforts, Satterfield, who was also named the Class AAA player of the year, is The Times Softball Player of the Year.
“Hitting is all about adjustments,” said Satterfield, who started going to a new hitting instructor prior to her senior year.
“You have to know where to stand in the box and you have to know what your pitch is, and if that pitch was ever thrown to me, that’s the pitch I hit over.”
Entering the season, Satterfield’s focus was on the 16 home runs, which was the old state record before Morrow High’s Chelsea Showers hit 17 this year.
“At the beginning of the year I said I was going to tie the home run record,” she said.
That feat wouldn’t have happened if White County didn’t make it to Columbus, the site of the final playoff games.
Following the team’s sweep of St. Pius X in the second round — a win that Satterfield said made the entire team cry tears of joy — she was sitting at 12 home runs on the year.
Satterfield quickly got to No. 13 when she hit a 3-run home run with her team trailing 2-0 against Eastside in the Lady Warriors’ first game in Columbus.
“I was in the on deck circle praying I’d hit a home run,” she admitted. “We needed it.”
As clutch as she was during the season for the Lady Warriors, coach John Brown said that was one of the most important hits of the year.
Her propensity for hitting the long ball continued throughout her time in Columbus, and when she stepped off the high school field for the last time, she left with both her preseason goals in hand: the 16 home runs, and a state title.
“My freshman year was just awesome to make the playoffs because it was the first time,” she said. “But to go out as a senior and to win a state title, it’s hard to explain how great it is.
“I could go on and on about how great it is and still not say how great it is.”
Brown also had a hard time summing up what it meant to send Satterfield out with a title.
“She’s been a mainstay for our team for four years,” he said. “Whether it’s pitching, hitting or leadership.
“You know she was always going to be there,” he added. “She’s competitive and loves the game of softball. She’s going to be hard to replace.”
Despite her great statistics and her role in leading the Lady Warriors to the first softball title in school history, Satterfield was never courted by a big-time college softball program. Next year, she’ll play for Perimeter College with the hopes of improving her game and one day transferring to a Division-I program.
“I would love to go to Arizona, but I don’t think I could live that far from home,” she said.
Regardless of where she goes, Satterfield knows the role she wants to play.
“If a college came up to me and said, ‘Hey, I just want you as a hitter,’ I would go,” she said. “I just love hitting. I couldn’t go to a college and them tell me I’m going to pitch, but not hit. I couldn’t do that, hitting is so much fun.”
Especially when it leads to a state championship.