Like many high school softball players, Northside senior Hannah George would say the sport is a big part of her life. But when George signed her softball scholarship to North Carolina on Thursday, George put into words just how much playing has meant to her life.
George was candid in telling her story to the crowd that gathered at Northside to celebrate her latest achievement. George has excelled at softball throughout her high school career, but long before she was notching strikeouts and hammering home runs for the Lady Patriots, the sport was an answer to her own personal depression.
George and her family moved to Columbus from Charlotte when she was 12 years old due to her father Warrick’s position in the Army Reserve. George explained it was hard to leave her family back in North Carolina as well as her friends, a task that became tougher when she was constantly bullied at her new school.
Before George began her freshman year at Northside, she decided she would stick with the three things she knew best: God, school and softball.
“All this stuff happened, and I was really depressed,” George said. “Softball became the outlet for my depression. At school, people said I was worthless and I wouldn’t achieve anything. In softball, it felt so good to achieve greatness.”
To say George achieved greatness during her time as a Lady Patriot would not be an overstatement.
George was a four-year starter for a Northside program which totaled 114 victories over that time, none bigger than the one that clinched the Class 4A state title this fall. George set new school records with a .427 career batting average and 23 home runs. She leaves high school with a 40-12 pitching record and 358 strikeouts.
George’s personal accolades go on and on. She’s a four-time All-Bi-City First Team member and a three-time All-Bi-City Player of the Year. She was the 2016 and 2017 Georgia Dugout Club Class 4A Player of the Year, and she’s been an All-State member three consecutive seasons.
George was stronger than ever in her senior season, going 17-1 in the circle with a 0.39 earned-run average. She was instrumental in the team’s march through the Class 4A playoffs, which George ended with a strikeout in the winner-take-all title game against Stephens County.
“She’s the first Division-I softball player to ever come out of Northside. That’s pretty amazing,” Northside head coach Brandon Jenkins said. “She’s kind of set the standard. These girls, they look up to her, but they also realize this is what it takes to be a Division-I softball player. On top of having God-given ability that not everybody has, Hannah George outworked everybody.”
George originally committed to North Carolina during her sophomore year at Northside. She explained when the coaches first voiced their interest and asked her to come to the campus, she started thinking about what it would mean to go back home.
After visiting Chapel Hill, George decided the offer was too good to pass up.
“It just clicked. I went on campus, and it was beautiful,” George said. “Everything was arranged the way I wanted it, and the coaches are amazing.”
Softball served as an avenue for George to rediscover her self-worth and overcome the hurt that surrounded her when she first came to Columbus. With a move back to North Carolina now official, George said it’s beginning to sink in that her efforts have finally paid off.
“I worked really hard for this,” George said. “I’m glad the day has come where I can broadcast that I’m officially going to North Carolina.”
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports