ATHENA — Throughout a life spent largely on playing fields and softball diamonds, Weston-McEwen High School senior Bailey Hillmick has also experienced her fair share of injuries.
Because of that she’s also spent a large chunk of her formative years in the company of athletic trainers and physical therapists, so much that when asked to estimate the total amount of time a coy laugh and the words, “A lot,” are the only reasonable answers possible.
Those trainers and therapists have never failed in getting her back to doing the things she loves, and Hillmick said that’s inspired her to pursue a degree in Exercise Science after graduating from Weston-McEwen.
“I’ve been around the physical therapy area and I felt like that’s something that really interested me,” she said. “When I get done with athletics I still want to spend time around sports.”
Thanks in part to the quality care she’s received over the years, however, that isn’t looking like will be anytime soon and on Wednesday night Hillmick signed her National Letter of Intent to play softball at Willamette University.
A three-sport varsity athlete for the TigerScots who also plays volleyball and basketball, Hillmick said softball has always been her favorite sport.
“I have two older brothers who played baseball so I was just around that kind of sport,” she said. “I played volleyball, soccer and basketball also, but just being out on the diamond made me happy and it was a sport that I wanted to put that much work into.
“I have been playing softball since I was seven and that is when I first fell in love with the game. Since then I knew I wanted to play college softball and I made that my goal.”
Through her summer ASA teams and then later playing in Northwest Fastpitch tournaments, Hillmick was able to showcase her skills to coaches throughout the northwest, and was drawing interest from more than a handful of other programs including Utah State, George Fox and Pacific among others.
“I’ve been playing ASA since I was nine and so playing ASA and traveling all over the place, and I’ve gotten to play some tournaments in Colorado and Utah. I’ve gotten to see coaches all over the place,” she said. “I feel like that’s what had got me the most looks.
“I had a lot of schools looking at me, in the end I was choosing between George Fox and Willamette as my top two choices but Willamette was always my first choice. Once I first stepped on campus, I knew that this was the place that I belonged.”
Hillmick, who was recruited as a middle infielder and pitcher, said Willamette head coach Damian Williams, the trees on campus and the town of Salem were all big factors in her choosing the Bearcats, which compete at the NCAA Div. III level.
“I picked Willamette because I felt that it was the right fit for me. The coach is awesome, the campus is beautiful, and the education is better then anything I could ever ask for,” she said.
With her future plans in place, Hillmick said she’s just looking to get as much enjoyment out of her time remaining as a TigerScot.
“I just want to go out and have fun with my teammates and have a good winning season and finish out high school with good memories,” she said. “I would like to thank Jeff Griggs, Rollie Marshall, my parents, all of my friends, and everyone at Weston-McEwen High School for everything they have done for me to help me get where I am today. I couldn’t have done it without them!”
Contact Matt Entrup at firstname.lastname@example.org or (541) 966-0838.