Smithville’s Hannah Caldwell – Player Spotlight Presented by Pine Cellular

By Nick Hampton

Unbeknownst to her, Hannah Caldwell had a secret fan of her catching abilities even in her early high school career. And now that fan is her coach.

Lexi Watson, a graduate of Smithville High who went on to have a fine college career at Seminole State and on to Central Oklahoma, is now the new head coach at her alma mater.

“When I was in college, I would come back a lot and watch games and Hannah always stood out to me,” said Watson. “She has a great arm as a catcher and has picked off a lot of runners that other catchers wouldn’t even try. She’s a great team leader, keeps the team focused and the girls really look up to her.”

Caldwell came to high school playing third base but then fate intervened.

“I was playing third but then one day our catcher got hurt and so I filled in and have been doing it ever since,” said the senior standout who also plays basketball for the Lady Braves and is a member of 4H, FFA, and the National Honor Society. “I enjoy trying to throw runners out. You have to see the runner at first out of the corner of your eye and if they give the slightest hesitation about whether to try to steal or not, I’m throwing behind them or down to second.”

Having a good work ethic is fundamental to Hannah as a way to improve herself and to set an example as a team leader.

“I take practice seriously as my way to improve the areas I need to work on. I think if you’re not focused in practice you just end up going through the motions and don’t improve,” said Caldwell. “Also by setting that example, it gains you respect with the team so if you try to instruct someone on something, they know you can back up what you’re talking about.”

Not surprisingly, Hannah admires what her coach has done in athletics and is one of her role models and has set some modest personal goals for her senior fast pitch season.

“I’d like to hit a home run in fast pitch this year. I’ve hit some in slow pitch but never in fast pitch and I’d like to make fewer errors and throw out more runners,” she laughed.