Ever since Hannah Thornhill was installed in the starting catchers spot for the Heuvelton Central varsity as seventh grader, she has done everything possible to take her softball talent to the furthest level.
She showed her ability to thrive against the toughest competition before she ever played softball.
As a 12-year old in the Ogdensburg Kiwanis Baseball System she won a local Major League Baseball Pitch-Hit-And-Run Contest hosted by the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club and then advanced all the way to the National Finals at the Major League All-Star Game at Anaheim, CA.
Heading into her sophomore season with the Lady Bulldogs, this week, she is a three-time All-NAC West performer and a First Team All-State selection as a freshman.
Those achievements have already aroused interest with college coaches who have sent her invitations to attend their summer camps.
It has also earned her an invitation to play at the international level with the Americas Team program which will take a softball team to Italy from July 9-15 for a series of doubleheaders.
When I got the invitation I was shocked and I really didnt know what it was. But once I read through the invitation I knew I wanted to go, said Thornhill who batted .548 as a sophomore with 34 RBI and three homeruns including a majestic towering shot over the leftfield fence at SUNY Potsdam in the Section 10 Class D Championship game against Chateaugay.
I just want to play against the best competition possible. I seem to do better against the faster pitchers and there should be some great players there. And I think it would be great to represent my country and play for a coach who won an Olympic Gold Medal.
Americas Team is coached by Olympic Gold Medalist Christie Ambrosi and to be invited to join the team a player must receive recommendations from their coaches based both on athletic talent and character.
Americas Team is designed to promote good will between American and foreign student-athletes as part of a global move to restore softball to the Summer Olympic Games.
To participate in the event and maintain compliance with NCAA and NAIA eligibility requirements players must raise a portion of the travel expenses.
Thornhill, the daughter of Andy and Vicki Thornhill, and her family have begun fund-raising efforts which have drawn a very positive responses.
Hannah has sent out a series of letters and the first major fund-raising event will be a chicken barbecue hosted by the Heuvelton Volunteer Fire Department on Saturday at the fire hall. Along with barbecued chicken the menu includes salt potatoes, baked beans, rolls and cake.
Serving will begin at noon and delivery is available by calling 344-2426. The fire department will also be hosting an open house on Saturday beginning at noon where several demonstrations of the departments life-saving capabilities will be offered.
Another fund-raising event will be a no-tap bowling tournament on May 4 at Ogdensburg Bowl beginning at 1 p.m. The tournament is open to mens, womens and mixed teams and the entry fee is $100 per five-bowler teams. A bowler can buy one strike per game for a dollar and a 50/50 raffle will be held.
Teams may register for the tournament at Ogdensburg Bowl or Dougs Tavern.
The response of the community has been great. We have received donations from the Teamsters Union and the Correction Officers Union. Preston Carlisle is going to make a donation at his law firm office next week and Reflections Hair Salon in Heuvelton, owned by Brandy Simmons, plans to host an event, said Vicki Thornhill.
The community of Heuvelton has always done so much for kids and what people here do has really helped produce great teams in soccer, basketball and softball at the high school.
Busy Softball Summer
The trip to Italy will be part of a very busy summer of softball for Hannah Thornhill who plays for Hazens Northern Stars 18U College Showcase Softball team. The team is coached by St. Lawrence Central products Heidi Hazen-Forte and Holly Hazen and PJ Anadino who has developed a national ranked junior college program at Herkimer Community College.
Current St. Lawrence Central standouts Lindsay Thayer and Hailey Agans are also members of the team which will play in summer tournaments at the Syracuse Summer Bash College Showdown on June 14-15, Aunt Rosies International Tournament on July 4-6, the West Seneca Tournament on July 19-20 and the Can-Am Tournament on July 25-27.
Playing with the showcase team has really helped me. I have played shortstop most of the time. I would rather catch but I like shortstop a lot, said Thornhill whose main focus right now is helping Heuvelton defend its NAC West crown.
Because of the weather we havent even practiced outside yet but we are going to have a really good team. We have a lot of people back from last year and some really good pitchers.
Note: Anyone who would like to help Hannahs Americas Team fund-raising efforts in any way should call her home 344-1262. For further information on Americas Team go the website www.amteamsport.com or call 785-806-4100.