South Carolina senior softball star may be nation’s top pitcher and batter

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Daniel pitcher and slugger Carley Hoover was a two-way superstar — USA Today
Daniel pitcher and slugger Carley Hoover was a two-way superstar — USA Today

Dominant athletes emerge in high school sports on a regular basis. Sometimes a player is just that much better than his or her contemporaries that there is no denying their knack for taking over a game, or even a season.

Central (S.C.) Daniel High pitcher and slugger Carley Hoover takes that possibility to a whole new level. Hoover was more than just her state’s most overpowering pitcher, she was also also its most feared batter.

As reported by MaxPreps, Hoover was nary on unhittable from the mound during her senior campaign. She finished with a 16-4 record and allowed just 29 base hits in a whopping 138 innings. More impressively, Hoover struck out 338 batters, an average of an astounding 2.5 strikeouts per inning pitched. Fittingly, her ERA was an almost incomprehensible 0.15.

Hoover was even better in the playoffs, notching 135 strikeouts in eight games (56 innings, for a 2.4 strikeouts per inning average) while allowing a total of 24 base runners (13 hits and 11 walks). The dominant outings helped the Lions earn a South Carolina Class 4A title.

Those pitching statistics alone would be more than striking enough to land Hoover a spot on any national watch lists, yet the senior’s at-bat performance was even better. According to MaxPreps, Hoover finished the season with a .500 batting average and scored 45 runs. She had just 52 official at bats … but was intentionally walked 55 times.

Those 55 walks and 45 runs follow a Gatorade Player of the Year junior campaign in which Hoover was handed intentional passes a state-record 59 times. Her career total for intentional walks is 157, a full 27 walks more than the previous national career mark.

So, how did Hoover become the most feared pitcher and batter, all in the same package? She is the first to admit that her genetic gifts had something to do with it.

"I've been blessed with size, ability and opportunities," Hoover told MaxPreps. "I work out and lift every day and am getting stronger. I think it is reachable and manageable [to consistently pitch in the mid 70 miles-per-hour]."

Hoover’s prep career may be over, but her softball legacy is still being forged. Her next stop will be Stanford, where she is already envisioning big things … like the school’s first softball national title.

Her high school coach, Daniel’s Kate Floyd, said even that might not be beyond Hoover’s grasp.

"She's always had the size, power and strength. She was 6-foot-1 as a seventh grader and very athletic," said Floyd. "Her maturity showed this year, especially during our playoff run. What an amazing way to finish her high school career."

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