TROY — Troy High School seniors Hannah Gerlach and Erin Bruce made their college choices official this week in the Trojan Activity Center.
Gerlach still remembers the fateful day four years ago as she contemplated ending her days playing softball.
Softball coach Scott Beeler approached the daughter of John and Amy Gerlach with a pamphlet.
”My softball coach (Scott Beeler) gave me a pamphlet about crewing and I didn’t know anything about it,” she said. “It was four years ago and I ended up doing that instead of playing softball. I looked into it on the team down in Dayton and have been doing it ever since.”
Doing it so well that she signed to be part of the University of Alabama crewing team.
”I just love the team aspect of it,” Gerlach said. “I always thought I would even up doing it in college. I really enjoyed it.
I just love the campus and everything about it. It is really beautiful down there. I do feel like I can (make an impact right away).”
Beeler was just giving Gerlach a chance to stay involved in athletics.
“Hannah is just a great kid,” Beeler said. “At the time I gave her the pamphlet, she had pretty much decided she was done with softball. I just wanted to see her stay involved in athletics in some way. Her first year, she had a very successful regatta season.
“The big thing is she is getting a college education. That is the most important thing.”
The daughter of Ken Bruce and Nancy Poteet understands what matters when making a college choice.
Which made Franklin College in Franklin, Ind., the perfect fit for her.
“You always hear the phrase scholar-athlete,” Bruce said. “That first word was really important to me. When I was looking at schools, I was looking at them for the academics. That was the most important things to me.
“It was fortunate that in Franklin College, I got my first choice for both academics and athletics. One of the things they told me is that your sport can be gone tomorrow, so you need to choose a school that you want to be at.”
Bruce batted .471 last spring, helping Troy to a 22-5 record.
She had seven doubles, a home run and 17 RBIs, while not committing an error in the outfield on defense.
“Erin (Bruce) is solid on defense and at the plate,” Beeler said. “She just needs to keep working hard.”
And Bruce feels like her best softball in front of her.
“I really didn’t start taking softball seriously until my sophomore year,” she said. “Taking 400 swings and lifting three times a week in the off-season. So, I do (feel like her best softball is in front of her). The great thing about a D-III school is you don’t feel limited by what you can do. If you go in an work hard, you will get an opportunity.”
And Beeler sees the big picture.
“Both girls are very hard workers,” Beeler said. “They are going to do well. The important thing the academic part and getting a college education.”
While continuing their athletic careers.