BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – If there is one thing the Beachy family is known for in Howard County, it is throwing a ball around the diamond. Led by Major League Baseball pitcher Brandon, the Beachy’s are well-known in the baseball world. But that is slightly changing as younger sister Sophia has made a name for herself on the Northwestern High School softball diamond, and her hard work paid off when she signed a letter of intent to continue her career at Huntington University.
For the Beachy family, playing a college sport has become a family tradition.
“I have six siblings and four have played college baseball. I am happy to carry on the (college) legacy,” said Beachy. “I am thankful for my family and their encouragement – I could not have done this without them.”
Beachy said she enjoyed the Huntington campus as soon as she set foot on it.
“Huntington is a great school and I like the campus” said Beachy, who is undecided on her college major. “Coach (Doug) Gower is a great guy and I am excited to play for him. I am really happy (to sign before the season) because it takes some weight off my shoulders – I can just play my game.”
The four-year varsity performer said she has enjoyed her Tiger career.
“I love being around the girls and the coaches,” said the multi-positional player. “I hit a home run last year, and that was a big highlight. I like third base the most, but I will play where they want me to play.”
Northwestern head softball coach Chris Walker said his squad will miss Beachy after she graduates.
“She means a lot to the program,” he said. “She is a good leader and I can put her anywhere on the field. You can count on her getting a hit and she knows how to get the girls fired up.”
For his part, Gower said he took Beachy sight-unseen – he has yet to see her play an actual game. But her personality, athleticism and family history played a huge part in his decision to sign the Lady Tiger standout prior to her senior season.
“I have not seen her play a lot in softball, but I did see her compete in basketball,” said Gower, who has coached the Foresters for 12 years. “I have only seen her play in a couple of camps. I like her spirit – I just knew I had to have her come to Huntington. And her family’s athletic pedigree helped.”
Gower said he first met Beachy at a camp in Indianapolis and had not previously been recruiting her.
“I first met her at a camp and just happened to see her. We made a connection and I felt comfortable with her right away,” he explained. “As I got to know the Sophia and her family, it was just one of those things that I knew would work. She is very athletic and a multiple-sport athlete. Once she concentrates on softball, her growth and ceiling will be pretty high. I am looking forward to seeing her playing.”
Interestingly, Beachy could have gone to college to play softball or basketball. She was an integral part of the 2017 sectional champion Lady Tigers that advanced to the Elite Eight. She said she loved playing basketball.
“I chose softball over basketball a while ago – I don’t know why; it just came to me. I like softball a lot,” she said. “I started varsity (basketball) as a freshman. It was a big change going from middle school to varsity, and now it is over. It went by so fast – but I had fun.”
Northwestern finished the basketball season 22-4, falling in the regional championship game to eventual Class 3A state champion South Bend St. Joseph.
“It was a fun season,” she said. “The freshmen really helped and were a big part of the team. I was excited (to win sectional) to go far, but I would have loved to have gone farther.”
But basketball is now in the rear-view mirror and it is softball full-time moving forward. And that suits Sophia Beachy just fine; after all, tossing a ball is a family tradition.