This story is part of a series recognizing the top high school athletes in Barren County for the 2018-19 school year as chosen by the Glasgow Daily Times.
GLASGOW — Hayden Sutherland, a 2019 graduate of Barren County High School, was the leadoff hitter for a Trojanette softball team that broke a school record with 31 wins in a season, and she is the 2018-19 Softball Athlete of the Year, as chosen by the Glasgow Daily Times.
Sutherland said she began playing softball when she was about 10 years old.
“A lot of my friends played,” she said. “So I just kind of started playing.”
The former Trojanette also recalled getting to spend time with the BCHS softball team when she was young.
“My grandpa drove the bus, and so I was around them. I traveled on the bus with them,” Sutherland said, adding that this experience allowed her to get an inside look at what it was like to be a Trojanette. “I thought that was really cool, and that kind of helped me to start playing, too.
“I looked up to them so much. There were a few girls that I still remember to this day, and I just wanted to be exactly like them.”
Fast forward to her senior year of high school, Sutherland finished her final season as a Trojanette with a .468 batting average, leading Barren County in hits (58), runs (54), singles (45), walks (13) and stolen bases (7). She also tallied 34 RBIs, 10 doubles, two triples and a home run.
“Hayden has been a starter for us at Barren County for the last five years,” Barren County coach Daryl Murphy said. “She really developed into a leader on and off the field. We relied on her a lot.
“The last couple of years, she became a really solid hitter for us. Set school records.”
On the all-time fast pitch softball records for the Trojanettes, Sutherland holds the following ranks in seasonal records: first and third for hits in a season (58, 52); first and eighth for runs (54, 30); first and second in singles (45, 45); tied for fourth in walks (15); seventh in doubles (10); fourth in RBIs (34); first and second in batting average (.473, .468); as well as first and tied for third and 10th in on-base percentage (.535, .504, .464).
Sutherland also holds the following career records for Barren County: first in career hits (196); first in singles (165); tied for fourth in doubles (22); tied for second in triples (8); third in RBIs (79); first in batting average (.422); and first in on-base percentage (.483).
“For her career, she was probably one of the most prolific offensive players that Barren County has ever had,” Murphy said. “Off the field, just a super kid in the classroom and with the younger girls — just a super person, great leader, just an all-around great kid.”
Murphy said Sutherland was very successful as their leadoff hitter.
“It was a luxury to have her in that leadoff spot, and she led off for me for four years,” he said. “She slaps for us, and has great speed.”
The Trojanette coach added that he was very impressed with Sutherland’s knowledge of the game.
“Hayden has been playing softball since an early age, so she was the kind of kid the last couple of years that didn’t require a whole lot of on-the-field coaching,” Murphy said. “For me, it’s almost like having an assistant coach on the field with Hayden directing outfielders or knowing situations when she would come up to bat.
“It was a luxury for us as coaches to have her out there on the field offensively and defensively.”
Sutherland said that Murphy and her father, Stacy — an assistant coach for Barren County — both played an integral role in her development as a player.
While Sutherland said she really enjoyed winning the 15th District championship during her sophomore and senior seasons, she said her favorite memory as a Trojanette was probably “the throw” in the district title game against Allen County-Scottsville her sophomore year.
“When I threw the girl out at home (from center field) and it actually kept the score 1-0,” she said. “It was a game-changer for sure. They would have tied it. We didn’t score again, so it’s pretty big.”
Sutherland said her Trojanette teammates are her best friends.
“I don’t know how I’m going to live without them next season, because I won’t be playing,” she said. “It’s going to be really hard, but I’m definitely going to be there to support them.”
While she will be attending Western Kentucky University, Sutherland said she is currently undecided on what kind of degree she wants to pursue.
When asked what advice she would give to young athletes who want to improve their skills, Sutherland said “to just continue working at it” and “never stop.”