When a person is passionate about what she does, it shows even after defeat.
A day after a devastating ouster from the softball regional finals playoffs, Keller’s Shelby Henderson was back on the diamond practicing. She will be playing this weekend for the Mizuno-Impulse when they travel to California for their first tournament.
The now-to-be senior is Keller’s first baseman and one of several returning players who will look to get into next season’s state tournament.
Henderson has been just one of the reasons the Lady Indians – in many people’s minds’ – have overachieved this year.
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Keller ripped through the district schedule after stumbling in the first game and became district champions.
Then, with the help of players such as Henderson, they did what it took down the stretch to pick up wins over Plano, Mansfield, Flower Mound and Lubbock Coronado before dropping the regional finals series to Lewisville in three games.
It was Henderson who in the Flower Mound series belted two home runs in the second game and was then intentionally walked to set up freshman Kasey Simpson for a walk-off grand slam.
Henderson said she considers herself a power hitter and recognizes she’s a talkative player on the field.
“I play with a lot of heart and I like to win,” she said. “When we’re losing I get mad and frustrated, but I’m just a competitive player.”
The power, as evidenced against Flower Mound, has been a great balance to the team which is developing several younger talents.
“I’m a power hitter and not the fastest girl on the team,” Henderson joked. “I hit for power but I can get ground balls to the right side, can get a bunt down. But I’m not asked to bunt much.”
That talkative nature helps, though, as the team has great communication and Henderson said that has helped the team get through some difficult plays and to know where the play needs to occur.
Henderson has already given a verbal commitment to play at Lamar University in Beaumont after her senior year.
“It’s a dream come true,” Henderson said. “To play the game I love and go to college. I love softball and will for the rest of my life.”
Henderson was still rocked by the loss to Lewisville the next day.
“I was devastated about last night,” Henderson said on Sunday. “I’m looking forward to next year and what we have [coming back].”
In select, Henderson moves behind the plate and will also play third base. She expects to play catcher at Lamar, but is perfectly content at first for the Lady Indians.
Regardless of her spot, she said she’ll work on her whole game, especially hitting.
“Wherever they need me to play,” Henderson said of a preferred spot. “But I’ll work on my hitting all year.”
Henderson admitted to not knowing what her batting average was and said she’ll look after the season had concluded.
“The average doesn’t say anything about the ground balls or flies you hit and the situation of the game,” she explained. Her hitting has come along during the playoffs compared to the regular season, she felt, and she said that comes from practicing every day at the plate.
“I don’t have to be perfect,” she said. “I know the people behind me will pick it up or the eight other people on the team will.”