The Greenbrier West Cavaliers softball team was very young this past season.
They started the season 4-6 and struggled to find consistency. The team had only one senior, but she was a huge reason that the Cavs finished the season winning 12 of their final 14 games before eventually falling to Midland Trail in the sectional finals. It was quite an impressive turnaround to finish with a record of 16-8.
That senior was Caley Chrisman.
Chrisman is the type of kid that just has all-American written all over her, but not just because of her play on the field, although that is a big part of it. When not on the diamond, she attends Young Life, helps to volunteer lead Wyld Life, travels with her family and spends time with her friends.
Her coaches have nothing but good things to say about her and gloat when talking about the opportunity just to be around her and to have known her for multiple years.
“What a great person and great kid,” West coach Tony Hinkle said.
“She’s the kind of girl that leads by example. She is so intelligent when it comes to the game,” Hinkle continued.
Chrisman has been playing softball for 10 years and earned second-team all-state honors as a sophomore. With the momentum in her favor, her junior year could have been one that vaulted her status even more, but Covid-19 shut that down without a warning.
And that made the 2021 season that much more special for Chrisman.
“I was super excited to get back on the field this season. Most of the girls on the team I had never played with before because of COVID taking last year away, “Chrisman said.
“The majority of the team were freshmen and sophomores. The only players on the team that had ever played a varsity softball game was me and junior Braelee Brown. The long hours and dedication of our coaching staff made these younger players into a great team this year,” she stated.
Chrisman, a shortstop in the field, led the Cavaliers this year in a lot of categories. She finished the season hitting .565 with four home runs and 46 RBI’s. She had 43 total hits, scored 44 runs, a .670 slugging percentage and struck out only two times the whole season.
Her secret for that success at the plate is easy: hard work.
“When I was younger, my dad coached me, and we would go to the field several times a week and hit bucket after bucket of balls. As I grew older, I learned more techniques to hitting like how important it is to use my lower body. At home, I would hit off the tee by myself. It took a lot of hard work and dedication,” Chrisman said.
Hinkle re-iterated Chrisman’s dedication to her craft.
“She’s one of the best, purest hitters and purest swings that we have ever had. She was usually the first one to practice and the last one to leave. She would take hundreds of ground balls a day and she would want to hit four or five hundred buckets of balls. You had to run her away from practice,” Hinkle stated.
However, it was always more than just hard work for Chrisman. She has so many influences in her life, and she attributes her success to all of them.
“God is definitely number one for giving me the ability to play. My dad for always coaching me and spending so much time at the field with me working on my batting and fielding. My coaches pushed me since freshman year and taught me more and more about the game every day. They have spent countless hours coaching our team and making us better all around. I cannot thank them enough for all the hard work and dedication through my high school career,” Chrisman said thankfully.
Now that her career is over, Chrisman can sit and look back on her fondest of memories, and there is already one that stands out immediately.
“Going to states my sophomore year,” she said when asked about her best memory.
“We had a powerful team with great chemistry. Most of us had been playing ball together since we were young,” she said.
Good things are in store for the daughter of Joann and Pete Chrisman. She plans to attend the Greenbrier Licensed Practical Nursing Program and then pursue her RN.
“I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me in the future,” Chrisman concluded.
Hinkle and the rest of the West staff will now prepare for life after Caley.
“She (Caley) will be sorely missed,” Hinkle said.