It can be crazy how the time flies.
Camdenton senior Haile Farris officially became a Viking on Wednesday after signing with Jefferson College during a ceremony at Camdenton High School and the senior had a little trouble believing the day had arrived.
“It is really crazy because when you are a freshman you see all these girls signing and you’re like, ‘Yeah that is going to be forever away,’” Farris posited, reflecting on the past four years. “But now that it is here, it is like, ‘Woah.’
“I feel like I just got out of sophomore year.”
Well, that may be because Farris had quite a bit of fun during her four years on the softball field with the Lakers as the team won two Ozark Conference titles and three straight district championships. Farris played a part in that success as a starting pitcher for Camdenton where she also provided a reliable bat and broke a couple of school records along the way. Farris was also part of the Missouri Stealth travel team that recently won a national tournament championship in the summer.
The senior said her love for the game came from the fast-paced action and the ability to control her own destiny with the ball in her hand as a pitcher. A lot of good things happened when Farris was on the mound.
Farris holds the school record for strikeouts in a single season (257), which took place this year, and she racked up 556 strikeouts in her pitching career. Over the past four years, Farris acquired a career ERA of 2.35 with 1.15 walks per inning pitched and she averaged 10 strikeouts per game as a senior.
“You definitely have to be headstrong in certain situations. If things get tough, you have to be confident in yourself and not freak out about everything,” Farris said when asked what it takes to be a good pitcher. “You just have to calm down, relax and do your thing.”
Farris appeared to be fairly relaxed at the plate as well if 13 career home runs and 100 RBIs with a .459 batting average is any indication. She also holds the school record for grand slams in a single season with three, respectively.
Factor all of that and it may be no surprise why she appeared on Jefferson College’s radar.
“Her abilities on the field are hard to deny,” Camdenton coach Tyler Dinsdale remarked. “That is something we are going to really miss and you cannot replace those numbers. Taking everything else out of that, she is a really good student and a really good kid. It is a great combination and Jefferson College is getting a really good player. They are getting a girl that can produce on the field and off the field, grades are not a problem and trouble is not a problem so it is fantastic.”
Farris was also privileged to be named First team All-Conference three times, First Team All-District three times, First Team All-Region twice and Second Team All-State. She was also named the Ozark Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2018.
“I was expecting to get a few things, but some things were not possible without the defense behind me,” Farris said humbly.
None of the numbers and accolades came without a little hard work, either.
“I remember when I would take her home every now and then after practice her freshman year and pick her and a few of the other girls up,” Dinsdale recalled. “They would always get back to working even after they got done with practice. This is not an August through October sport. This is a year-round type deal so she puts in the dedication and hard work. She has earned every bit of accolades and things she has coming towards her.”
The coach also commended Farris for having of the mindset of needing to outwork someone else and noted it is an example of hard work others would do well to consider.
“Keep your nose down and get to work. Don’t complain, just do it and get it done,” the coach said in reference to Farris. “There is someone you need to outwork and she does a really good job of doing that.”
At the same time, Farris credited all those who helped her along the way.
“You have to have determination to get where you want to be. There are a lot of coaches and players who helped me out to get here and a lot of support here,” she said.
Farris also said she will miss all the teammates she has enjoyed taking the field with since she was seven or eight years-old, but is also looking forward to what her new program has to offer as well when she suits up for the community college in Hillsboro, Mo.
“The pitching program was really strong and they had a good workout program to get you in shape,” the senior pointed out. “The coaches were really nice and I loved the atmosphere around it and everything so that was the place for me.”
Farris does not intend to take the opportunity for granted and she implored her fellow Lakers who play for Camdenton to do the same.
“You don’t know when your last game is going to be and you don’t know the last time you are going to get to play with teammates,” she said. “Also, stay confident in yourself and know what you are capable of doing. Don’t let anybody else ruin it for you.”
Farris intends to major in nursing and become an obstetric nurse.