High School Sports

Softball: Bald Eagle Area’s Giedroc looks to add to family medal count

Bald Eagle Area’s Haley Giedroc makes a diving stop against Wilmington on Thursday during the Lady Eagles’ 4-1 win in the PIAA Class AA softball quarterfinals at Slippery Rock.
Bald Eagle Area’s Haley Giedroc makes a diving stop against Wilmington on Thursday during the Lady Eagles’ 4-1 win in the PIAA Class AA softball quarterfinals at Slippery Rock. CDT photos

Talk about a family with the Midas touch.

Meet the Giedrocs.

Three members already own PIAA softball gold medals.

And now Haley, a shortstop for Bald Eagle Area, has a chance to make it a quartet. She will bat leadoff Friday for the Lady Eagles, who will face Central Columbia at 5:30 p.m. in the PIAA Class AA Championship at Penn State’s Nittany Lion Softball Park.

The gold rush started back in 1978 when Haley’s mother Audrey, a third baseman and a catcher, won gold as State College knocked off Pennsbury 2-0 in the first title game played at Shippensburg University.

Sixteen teams headed to Shippensburg for the finals.

“It was wonderful,” said Audrey, who reminisced recently with a former teammate and whose coach, Barry Rossman, attended this season’s PIAA semifinals to root for Haley. “We got to stay in the dorms and eat in the cafeteria. It was really cool.”

Her offspring would also strike PIAA gold at Shippensburg. Whitney, an infielder, was part of BEA’s first softball championship team as the Lady Eagles knocked off Brandywine Heights 6-0 in 2005. Four years later, Kendra, an infielder, earned a gold as BEA once again knocked off Brandywine Heights 2-0 in 2009.

“None of us really thought of it,” Audrey said. “It just kept happening. It’s the wierdest thing.”

Now, Haley is hoping to join them.

“We have discussed it quite a lot because when I come home and we talk about the upcoming game, my mom or my sister will be like, ‘Oh, it would be really great if you could get a gold medal and complete the family circle of getting gold medals,’” Haley said. “They said it would be really neat and I think it would, too.”

Haley certainly has helped do her part in BEA’s run through the postseason.

With the Lady Eagles trailing 6-4 in the seventh inning to Bellwood-Antis in the second round of the District 6 Tournament, she smacked an RBI double and scored the tying run on a very short sacrifice fly to left field. BEA won that game 7-6 an inning later.

She belted a long three-run homer as the Lady Eagles knocked off top-seeded and unbeaten Penn Cambria 5-1 in the district semifinals. And in the Lady Eagles’ 7-3 triumph over rival Philipsburg-Osceola on Monday, she doubled to trigger a four-run sixth-inning that snapped a 1-1 tie. She also had a bunt single and scored in a two-run seventh.

Haley has also played near flawless shortstop, making both routine and spectacular plays and shows off a cannon arm. She’s hitting .380 for the season and has scored a team-high 27 runs.

“My shortstop’s a peach, isn’t she,” BEA coach Curt Heverly said.

“I’m proud that I can contribute that much to my team,” Haley said. “It really does build my confidence because it carries over into the next game. I think about what I’ve just done and think, ‘Man, I can do so much better than that.’ It makes me want to play 10 times harder than I did the last game.”

Haley does play hard. She dives all over the field and rarely does she come home with a clean uniform for her mother to wash.

“She bleaches it about three or four times for all of that dirt to get through,” Haley said. “I try to dive for all of the balls I can get because usually they’re the balls that either score runs or ones I can make a play. I’m going to try the most to help my team. If it’s to dive to get a ball and get dirty, then I’m going to do it.”

“I have to spray the living daylights out of it,” Audrey said. “I’ve said, ‘If she doesn’t dive, she doesn’t make us happy.’ It’s the dirtiness she likes.”

Haley forms a formidable combination up the middle with second baseman Mikala Smith. The two began playing baseball and softball together in elementary school.

“We have more confidence in each other,” Smith said. “We know what each of us can do.”

And, Giedroc can do a lot.

She is a midfielder on the soccer team, a point guard for the basketball squad and runs cross country. She also participates on the school’s band and choir.

And she does all of it while being in the Top 10 in her class.

“It’s kind of hard because of late games,” Haley said of maintaining her GPA. “You come home late and you stay up late to do like four hours of homework. I swear. You get up early the next morning and try to struggle through that day.”

But she would not trade her time on the playing field.

“When I’m on the softball field, basketball court or soccer field, I’m never really tired,” Haley said. “When I play sports, I wake up. It’s the really one place I love to be. It relaxes me and it’s where I get away from everything.”

Haley is the sixth of nine children of Walter and Audrey Giedroc. Haley’s older siblings all have made an impact in multiple sports at BEA. Haley hopes to join Whitney (Mount Aloysius) and Kendra (Penn State Altoona) who played softball collegiately.

“They’re really important to me,” Haley said of her family. “They’re like the first thing I think of. They’re my No. 1 priority. I always look up to them.”

All of her immediate family attended Monday’s semifinal win over Philipsburg-Osceola and they’ll all be there again for the title game.

Haley has a wealth of resources to draw from about playing in championship game.

Whitney is her most vocal and nervous fan.

“She always cheers so loud,” Haley said. “Everyone tells her she’s the loudest on the field and I think she is. She’s always like, ‘Haley, I’m so nervous for you.’ I really think she’s is nervous because she knows how it is in that situation. I think she feels what I feel.”

Audrey and Kendra have been there, too.

“We always talk about what it would be like or what it is like,” Haley said. “They always take a trip down memory lane and talk about their gold medals. They always say it would be awesome if I could win it, too. Hopefully Friday, it will come true.”

The other gold medal winners in the family have treated their medals differently.

Audrey doesn’t display here medal. “It’s tucked away somewhere safe so it doesn’t go anywhere, but she has showed it to me a couple of times,” Haley said.

Whitney has here medal hanging in her room. Kendra, now married, has all of her softball honors hanging up in the room Haley now occupies.

Haley has a spot picked out if the Lady Eagles (22-4) can knock off hard-hitting Central Columbia (23-2).

“I would hang it up next to Kendra’s, but hang it up on my side of the room so you could see mine first,” Haley says with a chuckle.

And while Haley “really” hopes for that gold, she knows that a silver is a pretty big accomplishment. too.

“I guess it really does show all of our hard work,” she said. “Honestly, we didn’t think we would make it to the district finals, let alone state finals. Silver is OK because it reminds us of where we started and where we ended up.”

She knows she’ll have plenty of people in the stands named Giedroc pulling for her.

“I really hope she does it,” Audrey said. “I hate putting pressure on her so I really haven’t said anything. ... We’re all pretty excited.”