Photo: Glencoe High School senior Anna Claire Hipps signs a softball scholarship with Pensacola (Fla.) State on Feb. 14 at the GHS library. Pictured, from left: mom Amber, Anna Claire, dad Gary, sister Ella Kate. (Courtesy of Gary Wells)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Without so much as a plate appearance or a play in the outfield, Anna Claire Hipps already has made a good impression for her high school softball team.
The Glencoe senior signed a scholarship with Pensacola (Fla.) State on Feb. 14 at the GHS library.
Hipps transferred from Southside prior to her junior year. Due to injuries, she played parts of only two seasons with Southside while competing in travel ball during the offseason. Hipps played travel ball during her sophomore and junior seasons. She was a member of the GHS varsity basketball team the past two seasons.
Hipps, who suffered a torn labrum in her shoulder as an eighth grader and tore an ACL during her freshman year, was appreciative to the opportunity to play at the next level.
“It’s very humbling, just for the fact that I had two serious injuries and it wasn’t something that I thought I’d be able to accomplish. I pretty much haven’t played a full season of high school ball since the seventh grade, so I feel very fortunate.”
Hipps said her best friend and former Southside High softball pitcher Olivia Burrell drew her to sign with Pensacola State. Burrell has battled Lyme’s Disease over the past few years, and although she was unable to compete at the college level, Burrell was offered a softball manager scholarship with the Lady Pirates.
“Olivia really is an inspiration to me,” said Hipps, who plans on studying nursing in college. “To see what she’s been through and still get a [college] scholarship was amazing. I went to a couple of camps [at Pensacola State] and got to know their coaches, and I really liked the campus and the facilities. It just felt like home. Plus, I absolutely love the beach!”
GHS head softball coach Tommy Stanley is looking forward to what Hipps has to offer his program.
“Anna Claire had not played an inning yet for me, but I’ve become a fan of her watching her play basketball and having her in class. I do know one thing – the high character of Anna Claire. She plays hard and she’s all about the team. For Anna Claire to take the initiative to go out and find a softball scholarship speaks a lot about her. I can’t be any prouder for her, and I think this year is going to be a joy.”