COURTESY EASTERN KENTUCKY
Shyenne Hussey leads Eastern Kentucky in batting average (.373), doubles (12), homers (8) and RBIs (43). CLICK FOR LARGE
Hussey a big hit in Kentucky
HAWAII GROWN - Tracking Hawaii student-athletes on the mainland
SHYENNE Hussey was rewarded on Wednesday for her standout freshman softball season at Eastern Kentucky University by being named to the Ohio Valley Conference All-Newcomer team and the All-Conference second team.
The third baseman produced 17 multi-hit games for the Colonials, most on the team.
Hussey (Kailua '06) had two four-hit games. In one of those matchups, an 11-5 win over Wright State on April 4, she knocked in a team season-high five runs.
The Waimanalo resident was the only EKU player to earn conference player of the week honors. That came on Feb. 26 after she hit home runs in three consecutive games at the Tennessee-Chattanooga Panera Bread Invitational.
"Shy is a pleasure to have here. She is one of the best kids we've ever had," Eastern Kentucky coach Jane Worthington said.
SHYENNE Hussey wanted to travel last summer to overcome her fear of flying.
Hussey's summer team (Kauila) didn't want to travel so she asked around to see if another team had an opening. When Kamikaze coaches asked her at the last moment, she jumped at the opportunity to play in a softball tournament in Colorado.
Jane Worthington was watching that last July and took the direct approach after seeing Hussey belt the ball all over the place.
That combination of events resulted in Hussey receiving an athletic scholarship to Eastern Kentucky where she is the Colonials leading hitter.
Hussey has the top batting average (.373 on 60-for-161), most doubles (12), home runs (eight), runs batted in (43), the top slugging percentage (.596) and on-base percentage (.460). She has struck out just 12 times while drawing 17 walks.
"THE FIRST TIME I saw Shy play in Colorado I think I watched 10 at-bats and she had seven hits and three were home runs," said Worthington, EKU's women's softball coach. "I said this kid can help us."
Hussey's college interest was limited to Hawaii's schools before she went to Colorado. She figured she would be playing softball at home.
She was aware other coaches at the tournament were asking about her, talking to people in the stands and her coach, but none approached her.
Then Worthington had a talk with the 2006 Kailua graduate and Star-Bulletin All-State, first-team third baseman.
"We talked about schooling first and I told her I wanted to major in criminal justice," Hussey said. "She said Eastern Kentucky was in the top 10 in the county for criminal justice. Then she mentioned money and she made the best offer (a full athletic scholarship)."
Although Worthington asked Hussey to sign a letter of intent in Colorado, Hussey decided to wait until she had a chance to talk with her parents, Shad and Sunday Hussey.
"My parents were shocked as how far away it (Eastern Kentucky) was. They knew I was going to get something (scholarship)," Hussey said. "They left it up to me as to what I wanted to do. They were behind me no matter what."
COURTESY EASTERN KENTUCKY
EKU coach Jane Worthington said Hussey's best position is at third. CLICK FOR LARGE
Then, a couple weeks went by without a call back from the EKU coaches. Finally, Hussey's dad, Shad, called to say his daughter was accepting the scholarship offer. With apologies accepted, she had little time to get ready to travel as school was about to start.
"I was really nervous. I had no idea what to expect," said Hussey, who flew into the Lexington, Ky., airport about 20 minutes from campus.
HOWEVER, AS FALL practice progressed, Worthington developed expectations. She liked the technique of Hussey's swing and, although Hussey has caught, Worthington says she is better as a third baseman.
"I am pleased with the way Shy responded. She is one of the best bats on the team," Worthington said. "Her offense is the best part of her game. Her defense is not bad, but she will get better and have fewer errors next year.
"I was worried (for her) being that far from home but she has fit right in. She did miss home, absolutely, but she's enjoying her time here. She hooked up with some teammates right away. She calls one teammate a twin, gave her a Hawaiian nickname, yet they look nothing alike."
Hussey got used to the cold although she played her first game in the snow.
"The first semester was hard. After coming home for Christmas, I came back and everything was fine," said Hussey, who adjusted to the faster pace of the college game, but concedes she is still learning. "I bat third in the order and I like that position. I'm a power and line-drive hitter, but most of my hits are line drives."
Hussey definitely plans to return to Hawaii after graduation. She is leaving her options open as to a specific choice for a career within the general field of criminal justice.
"Shy is a pleasure to have here. She is one of the best kids we've ever had," Worthington said.