Bulldog will go great lengths to play softball

Published 7:29 pm Thursday, July 15, 2021

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Natchez senior Aysia Pollard takes about two months off from playing softball every year. The other ten months, she plays for the bulldogs or a travel ball team.

Pollard currently plays on the travel ball team Nemesis in Laurel. She said playing softball with a travel team requires a lot of driving for practices and games. Most of their tournaments are in Brandon, she said.

“It is fun playing with them, and I like the coach. The girls are very welcoming,” Pollard said. “I was on a travel ball team coached by David Parsons, and he taught me a lot.”

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Her softball career began when she was four years old. Competition and being on a team are what she enjoys the most about softball, she said. Recently, she finished her junior year with a batting average of .759 for Natchez.

Softball is the only sport she plays, she said. Once, she tried to play tennis and basketball, but it just did not work.

Memories from the past 14 years have blurred together, she said. Playing travel ball is how she fell in love with the game.

“When I first started travel ball, I loved the team, and I loved traveling,” Pollard said. “I never truly get tired of it. I liked when we played long nights and winning ball games. The winning was the best part. I just love the game.”

Off the softball field, Pollard excels in the classroom and is in the Natchez Early College at Co-Lin. In middle school, a counselor came and spoke to her school. She remembers other kids stressing about getting the acceptance letter, and she said she got one.

“I knew I would go further in my academic career,” Pollard said. “You learn the same as everyone else. It is just at an accelerated pace. You are getting a jump start on college, and it is a pretty good thing to have. (NEC) has taught me what career paths I want to go down. It taught me more about college.”

The early college program allows students to earn their associate’s degree while in high school. Pollard is unable to play softball for a community college.

In college, she plans to study criminal psychology because she wants to learn how the criminal mind works. Her interest came from watching crime shows such as NCIS, Chicago PD, Criminal Minds and the Mendez Brothers Tapes. Oklahoma University, Louisiana State University and Alabama are her top three universities.

Head Coach Bonita Hamilton said Pollard has played for her since she was in the seventh grade. Hamilton said Pollard was shy when she first played softball, but she has grown into a leader on the team.

“If I am coming from Morgantown where I work, I know Asyia is going to take the reins,” Hamilton said. “She is a great leader. When it comes to the field, she is serious. She loves the game of softball. It is her number one. Every game, she leaves it all on the field.”

Graduation has not hit Pollard yet. She still has one more season to play at Natchez High and is already thinking of how much she will miss the team.

“I am going to miss it because I made a lot of friends on this team,” Pollard said. “I am going to miss them when I go on to college.”