Creating a buzz

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Leavitt shortstop Stephanie Healy is a staple in the third spot of the Hornets’ lineup.

TURNER – When Stephanie Healy arrived in high school, her Leavitt softball team already had a pretty good pitcher.

With Sam St. Hilaire establishing herself on the mound, Healy had to settle for a new position, and that was fine by her. It also worked out pretty well for the Hornets.

“She had fantastic potential (as a pitcher) but when you talk about pitching, you’ve got to really want to do it,” said Leavitt coach Pete Higgins. “Steph played where she could really help us a lot.”

Leavitt needed a new shortstop that year. Healy had been a pitcher and shortstop since she took up the sport as a kid. She was more than willing to give up pitching and put down roots between second and third.

“I used to pitch when I was younger,” said Healy, who is the youngest of four kids. “I kind of grew out of it because I love shortstop so much. I kind of shied away from it. I was like I just want to play shortstop.'”

It wasn’t such a bad career choice. She’s been one of the KVAC’s best shortstops during her tenure and has one of the best throwing arms you’ll see. Unless, of course, you’re her first baseman and have to catch her fireballs from across the diamond.

“And she takes a little bit off her throws now,” said Higgins. “So it doesn’t scare the heck out of our first baseman, even though with Beth Burgess there, it isn’t much of a problem.”

Healy started at short as a freshman, taking over for all-star Darlene Perry, for the defending state championship team. The team repeated as champs her first year.

“Starting as a freshman shortstop on a state championship team probably gave her as much pressure as anything,” said Higgins.

Healy handled it well and has been rock solid in the field ever since. Though St. Hilaire eventually graduated and the Hornets needed a new pitcher, Healy wasn’t interested. She vehemently said “No”, even though she’d pitched in practice as a freshman and sophomore.

“I liked shortstop too much,” she said. “It probably gets the most action. When you play good teams, it’s where a lot of balls end up. You’re in control of a lot of things. I feel like I can have something to do with every play. You’re always moving.”

Healy has thrived in that situation and has managed to do everything for the Hornets. Besides being a stellar defensive player, she’s also one of Leavitt’s top hitters, a staple in the third spot.

As a senior, she brings all that experience to a lineup that has just two other seniors in Burgess and Jess Paladino and four other starters – Brittany Gurney, Aime Chiasson, Heidi Swett and Jenn Knowles

“I think her confidence level is really good this year, really high,” said Higgins. “Athletically, she’s gotten a little bit bigger and a little stronger but it’s always been excellent. She has a lot of power. She does everything well, but her concentration and her confidence looks really good this year. I think it will be a big year for her.”

Healy says she feels more comfortable and confident than ever and that helps as a senior captain. Being a captain with two seniors last year, she learned about that role and feels a sense of responsibility to lead her squad in her final year. She was a constant producer on a young basketball team this winter and is also an excellent soccer player.

“I know when I was a freshman I looked up to the seniors so much,” said Healy, who expects to attend the University of Maine but hopes to transfer to a school in the Boston area to play basketball. “I just want to try to be a good role model.”

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