- Features

Paint Valley freshman Abbi Stanforth following in footsteps of older siblings

Derrick Webb, Staff Writer

BAINBRIDGE — Abbi Stanforth says she hasn’t had much homework yet. But when she does, rest assured, her already busy schedule will get a bit crazier.

The Paint Valley freshman is a part of a class that’s bringing energy and excitement to Bainbridge. She’s also a part of a family that has deep athletic roots in the community.

Abbi’s brother Drake, who graduated in 2017, played a central role in both the Bearcats’ football and baseball programs while her sister Laci, who graduated in 2014, played volleyball, basketball and softball while running track.

Paint Valley’s Abbi Stanforth is playing both shortstop and pitcher for the Bearcats.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA

So far, Abbi is following in her older sibling’s footsteps.

She played 64 sets this past fall for Paint Valley’s volleyball team, started on the basketball team and is now starting for the softball program while participating on the track team when time allows.

“[My siblings] always challenged me but knew I was smaller,” Abbi said. “So that made me a better athlete because I had to work harder to compete with them. They taught me everything I know and it all started in our backyard.”

All those hours in the backyard and in the gym are starting to pay off.

“It was kind of crazy starting as a freshman on the basketball team,” she said. “Then, volleyball, I started on JV and got called up to varsity. Softball, I’m just starting. I do track as well and run hurdles. But if I had to pick a sport, it’d be basketball.”

A regular day for Stanforth isn’t what many would call “regular.” After waking up, hopefully grabbing breakfast, and ending her school day, she heads to track practice until around 4:15. Then, it’s off to the softball field where she stays until around 6:30.

If she’s lucky, she’ll get a chance to relax a bit before falling asleep and doing it all over again.

Go. Go. Go.

“My schedule is crazy,” Abbi said, smiling. “But I like it that way. I like it that I’m active and that I’m always on the go.”

When she focuses on softball alone, she serves as the Bearcats’ shortstop or pitcher. She’s not too bad with a bat in her hands, either.

While she’s immediately proved her worth in Paint Valley’s lineup by providing a spark early in the season, she’s done so with her classmates — namely fellow starters Olivia Smith and Hanna Uhrig — right alongside her.

Those three are the leaders of a 2022 class that oozes talent.

Abbi says her teammates, like Olivia Smith who’s pictured, have been her best friends since kindergarten. The Bearcats’ 2022 class is loaded with talent.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA

“They’ve been my friends since kindergarten so we’re pretty close,” Abbi said of her classmates. “I can always count on them to do the right things, work hard, fix their errors, just everything.”

With those three freshmen, alongside sophomore Haylee Vaughn, junior Paige Rickey, seniors Savannah Smith and Chloe Manion, etc., Abbi is hoping for a successful season on the diamond.

“This season, I want to improve my hitting. I’d also like to place in the SVC in hurdles and make a tournament run with the softball team,” Stanforth said. “More wins than losses.”

And, no matter what, she knows she has plenty of support in her corner from those that came before her … especially within her own bloodline.

“If I mess up, they’ll let me know about it,” Abbi said. “But they’re supportive of me no matter what. That means a lot to me.”

About Derrick Webb

Derrick is SOSA's chief content coordinator and has worked for the Chillicothe Gazette, the Portsmouth Daily Times and Eleven Warriors. He's a 13-time award-winning journalist, a self-proclaimed baseball purist, a suffering Bengals fan and has never met a stranger.
Read All Posts By Derrick Webb

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