Cougar of the Week: 04/09

Hayley Buckheit (’15) of Camden, Maine is well known around the NEWMAC for her pitching, but she has emerged as a fearsome hitter this year as well. Her on-base percentage is .436, and she has seven RBIs, both of which are good enough for second on team. She spent some time with The Scarlet to talk about adjusting to the weather, her plans after graduation, and The Office.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Edelman
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Edelman

Scarlet: So, you guys were finally able to play games, but they were against WPI and Wheaton who are very good. How do you guys put that in context with the rest of your competition?

Buckheit: I think we also have struggled with the fact that we haven’t been able to play since we went to Florida. We’ve only been practicing. So I think even if it wasn’t against a good team, we have to realize that, being our first time out there, we were gonna struggle a little bit. But then the fact that it is against a good team made it a little harder. But I think going into the rest of the season, it will be better having those two games, and we learned a lot from them, so it’s good.


Scarlet: What did you learn from those games?

Buckheit: We learned a lot about our defense that week. We need to step it up, and it gives us a lot more to work with in practice, rather than just practicing to be there. We know we have something to work on, which is good.


Scarlet: What position do you play when you don’t pitch?

Buckheit: I usually play left field or first base. So I kind of get moved around anywhere. I’m pretty confident everywhere on the field.


Scarlet: I know you’re primarily known for your pitching, but you’re near the top for hitting statistics this year. What have you been doing differently?

Buckheit: So as a pitcher you don’t get as much time in practice, because while everyone’s hitting, you’re pitching. So I think this year, I’ve tried to take the time that I do get hitting, and make the most of it. And then at the same time I don’t get as much practice as the other girls, so when I go out in games, I don’t think about it that much. You just gotta go out and do it. There’s not much that you can help when I’m in a game situation.


Scarlet: Do you think you’re better at hitting this year overall?

Buckheit: I think I’m more confident.


Scarlet: So that’s been the main difference, just your mental approach?

Buckheit: Yeah. Just going up to bat and not really worrying about it.


Scarlet: When did you start playing softball?

Buckheit: Oh, gosh. Probably…so tee ball must have been six or something, but the first year of little league. So like nine, I think is when you first start. Not really sure. Around eight or nine years old, I’d say.


Scarlet: What made you stick with it?

Buckheit: I don’t know. I was just good at it. And I think anything that you’re good at you kind of just keep practicing and keep doing. So I was always just very good and I just kept doing it, and my family loves it. Big athletic family, so I kind of think it brought my dad and I together a lot more.


Scarlet: What other sports does your family play?

Buckheit: We’re a big soccer family. My dad’s entire family played Division I. I never got into that, but yeah. Big soccer family.


Scarlet: Why do you think that is?

Buckheit: I don’t know, I was more of a hand-eye coordination than a foot-eye. Couldn’t really kick the ball as well.


Scarlet: How did your parents react to you not choosing soccer?

Buckheit: I was really little when I quit, and I was scared to tell them because I knew they loved soccer. But I don’t think they really cared. It’s not like I was quitting all athletics, and even then they’d still love me, but I think they knew that I was better at the other sports I was playing than soccer so they were fine with it.


Scarlet: What do you do when you’re not playing softball?

Buckheit: Umm, I do a lot of studying. I’m a bio major, so any time I don’t have practice, I need to do some type of work. Which is not the most fun answer, but I have to do it.


Scarlet: Oh sure. Any specific area of biology that you’re specializing in?

Buckheit: So when I graduate I want to do neuroscience, and I’m going to plan on getting my Ph.D. in neuroscience, and working out certain neurological mechanisms behind psychological disorders.



Scarlet: Are you going to do the fifth-year master’s program beforehand?

Buckheit: Nope. I think I’m going to take a year off and actually work with kids with certain disorders, and then go right into my Ph.D. [program].


Scarlet: Nice! What games do you guys have coming up?

Buckheit: We have Springfield on Friday.


Scarlet: Ooh, another tough one.

Buckheit: Yeah, I never like playing Springfield. I just never liked them, and then Coast Guard on Saturday, and Smith on Sunday.


Scarlet: I noticed that the team only has twelve members this year. Is that less than normal?

Buckheit: We had twelve last year. Maybe like thirteen, I don’t really remember. My freshman and sophomore year we had bigger teams. And it is hard with injuries. You have to take care of yourself for sure, and everyone has to be very flexible where they play too.


Scarlet: It must be difficult not having many relief pitchers.

Buckheit: Yeah, we actually have more this year. Last year, we only had two pitchers, and we had two games at a time so we both had to pitch. This year it’s a little more flexible. You can play around with who you need in the field more versus who you need on the mound more, which has been greatly appreciated. It’s nice to have that choice.


Scarlet: Do you have any hobbies outside of softball and studying?

Buckheit: I mean, yeah [laughs]. I mean obviously in college, you like to hang out with your friends, do whatever that they’re doing…hmmm what do I do?


Scarlet: It can be a tough question.

Buckheit: Yeah.


Scarlet: It seems like not as many people have hobbies anymore. Nobody does things like building houses out of Popsicle sticks anymore.

Buckheit: Yeah, I guess. If I didn’t have anything to do and my friends weren’t doing anything, I’d just watch something on Netflix.


Scarlet: Any favorite shows right now?

Buckheit: I’m obsessed with The Office. It’s been my favorite show for, like, ever. I’ve watched every season at least five times by now.


Scarlet: What’s your favorite episode?

Buckheit: I love the golden ticket episode, mainly because of the beginning when they make that KGB joke.


Scarlet: “The KGB will ask the questions!” Which season is that episode from again?

Buckheit: I don’t know, maybe five?


Scarlet: I’m not as familiar with that episode because I’ve mostly just seen the first four seasons.

Buckheit: No, it’s definitely when Michael is still there. It’s like one of the older times. When Michael leaves, everything goes downhill.


Scarlet: My favorite season is probably season three because I really like Andy and that season is peak Andy.

Buckheit: Yeah, he’s pretty good.


Scarlet: Who’s your favorite character on the show?

Buckheit: I’d probably just have to go with Michael Scott. Just a great man, all around.


Scarlet: Which character do you identify with the most?

Buckheit: Hmmm…I don’t think I identify with any of them.


Scarlet: Everyone’s pretty weird.

Buckheit: Yeah, I don’t know. I think that would be something I’d have to think about it. [laughs]



Thanks for the interview, Hayley!