Softball: Hahn corners third-base job with Loyola infield
Loyola Academy's third baseman Maddie Hahn, a Highland Park resident, charges in on a bunt during a regional champonship game last week. | michael jarecki ~ for Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 12, 2012 5:12PM
Visiting San Francisco was something Maddie Hahn had wanted to do for quite some time.
On Friday that time arrived. The Highland Park resident and recent Loyola Academy graduate had a pretty cool to-do list on Saturday.
Maybe the list was on paper.
Maybe it was in her head.
One of things on the list was to check out a famous structure with her mother Julie and grandparents Bob and Pat.
“I’m going to see the Golden Gate Bridge,” the Ramblers’ starting third baseman said by phone early Saturday afternoon. “I’m so excited to be out here.
“It was a gift, this trip,” she added. “I kind of begged for it.”
Hahn didn’t have to beseech softball coach Marty Jennings for the Loyola job at third base after a preseason competition. She earned it. Primarily a backup pitcher a year ago, she was a staple at the hot corner for a 22-8 team which won the GCAC title and topped Maine South for a Class 4A regional championship.
“First of all, Maddie is a great person, an incredible student,” said Jennings, who in his second year as head coach guided Loyola to the Class 4A state championship in 2009. “We challenged her in a lot of ways this season and she was a joy to coach. She made some incredible plays for us at third. If she got to the ball, it was an automatic out.”
Hahn had a ball as a baseball player well before discovering softball and making a smooth transition to that sport. She and her father Greg played catch often in between her youth baseball games in a Highwood league.
“He was always there for me when it came to sports,” Maddie said. “I always appreciated how supportive he was.”
One of the strengths of Loyola’s softball team this spring was sophomore pitcher Jackie Kiefer. Another was the team’s infield.
“Our infielders’ collective mentality for the whole season was, ‘Nothing is going to get by us,’ ” said Hahn. “Plus we had Jackie, a pitcher who was feared, and a great group of seniors.”
Her next “inning” in life begins this fall at the University of Notre Dame, located several long home runs from where Grandma Pat and Grandpa Bob reside.
“I’m undecided,” she said of her intended major. “Maybe Spanish. I’d like to become fluent in the language and maybe study abroad.”
Hahn hasn’t just performed admirably on softball diamonds. Last summer and fall she played the guitar and sang at local coffee houses. Jitters tried to foil her gigs, but Hahn was adept at taming them before her opening song.
Jennings has heard Hahn warble on YouTube. Hahn was a junior when one of her tunes went viral.
“That took courage, but she was brave enough to do it,” said Jennings. “I think it was a country song she sang; what a cool moment that was for me. As a coach you cherish a moment when you get to see one of your athletes in a different element.
“Maddie,” he added, “has an impressive range of incredible gifts.”