The future Bambies softball captain is becoming a leader on the field and helping students with special needs.
For Avery Hibbs, the future may have already started.
Hibbs, a rising senior at St. Hubert High School, spent softball season patrolling second base for the Bambies. Her double-play combination partner was Emma Clark, a shortstop who recently graduated.
Last week, while playing for the Catholic League Carpenter Cup softball team, Hibbs found herself at a new position.
“I guess they needed to find a position for me so they put me at shortstop,” the Bustleton native said. “I liked it. I’ve played second base most of my life, but I had fun playing shortstop.”
Was it an audition? Was it a chance to show what she can do?
“I don’t know, I’m happy I played so they could see what I could do, but I like second base, too,” Hibbs said. “I’m just glad I made the Carpenter Cup team because it was a chance to play against great players and meet a lot of the girls I played against. We had a good team, and it was a lot of fun.”
Fun times started early for the Bambies.
Hubert took second place in the Catholic League, and advanced to the Catholic League championship game before falling to Bonner-Prendergast.
The Bambies then went on to win the city championship, and advanced to the state playoffs before having the season come to an end after a first-round setback.
The success Hubert enjoyed will help Hibbs and fellow underclassmen on last year’s team, and next year, she’ll be counted on for more than just playing defense and contributing at the plate.
“I’m very excited because the coaches voted and I’m going to be a captain,” said Hibbs, who went 3-for-8 with two RBI for the Catholic League in its three games in the Carpenter Cup. “They said they vote based on character, ability and leadership, so it’s a big honor to be named, and it’s going to give me more confidence going into the season.”
It will actually give her confidence heading into the summer.
Hibbs plays softball all year, and when she’s not in her high school season, she plays for the New Jersey Nightmares.
“It’s good because I get to play with a lot of good players at Hubert and with my tournament team,” Hibbs said. “We play a lot of games during the summer. The more you play, the better you get.”
Hibbs’ athletic career revolves around softball, but she also has time to volunteer to causes very close to her heart.
She’s on the board of Hubert’s Athletes Helping Athletes organization, which pits Bambie athletes with special-needs students.
“It’s my job to raise money for the program, so I try and come up with fundraisers,” Hibbs said. “Last year, we sold crazy socks. They were just socks with crazy colors and designs and we were allowed to wear them on crazy sock day. We raised about $200, so that was good.”
That’s not the only volunteer work she does. She also works with PALS, a program that gives young adults with Down syndrome and their peers a chance to have fun, grow as individuals, and build transformative friendships.
“We do different things, last year we went to the beach, or we’ll have game nights or just hang out,” Hibbs said. “We just try and make sure they’re having a good time.”
Hibbs volunteers her time because her older sister, Alana, has Down syndrome.
The 21-year-old loves watching her sister play softball, and the pair share a special bond.
“We get along great, she comes to a lot of my games and she cheers very loud for me, she loves it,” Hibbs said. “She does a lot of things with me. We listen to music in her room and we dance. And when she’s (upset), I can calm her down. We are best friends.”
For the rest of the summer, Hibbs plans on hanging out with her sister, as well as her friends, and she hopes to spend some time on the beach.
But her primary focus will be on playing softball.
“We play a lot in the summer, I’ll be working on getting better,” Hibbs said. “I’m also working on being a leader.
“I’m quiet off the field, but I’m much louder on the field. I started getting more (vocal) when I moved from outfield to the infield. Some plays, I’ll call out the plays, and if the pitcher is struggling, I’ll cheer her on. These are things you have to do when you’re going to be a captain.” ••