Abey Bass used to play basketball. Hannah File still swims.
But there is no doubt their talents are best suited to softball. Just take a look at the Shelbyville record book.
In a season in which the Golden Bears won 22 games and their first ever Hoosier Heritage Conference championship, the offense set team records for batting average (.385), hits (306), on-base percentage (.443) and slugging percentage (.558).
Bass solidified her legacy by setting new single season records for batting average (.554), on-base percentage (.607) and runs batted in (36) and, along with junior Natalie Weber, set the record for hits (51).
“Natalie kept me on my toes all year because every time she did well and I didn’t I was like, ‘I have to not do bad next game,’” said Bass. “Having her hitting right behind me, usually if I got a hit she got a hit. It became a little duo thing we had.”
The DePauw softball recruit leaves Shelbyville with career records for batting average (.455), on-base percentage (.512), hits (145), RBIs (105) and total bases (215).
“The only (record) I knew of was single season average,” admitted Bass. “I was glad I got at least one (record) to hold on to.”
With the gaudy statistics and the records, Bass earned her second Softball Player of the Year award from The Shelbyville News. Bass and File shared the award in 2014, just as they are doing in 2016.
File, a James Madison recruit and the reigning three-time Shelby County Player of the Year, set single season records for slugging percentage (.841), runs scored (42) and triples (7). She is currently the career record holder for doubles, triples and home runs. And with one more season left, File will cement her own legacy as Shelbyville’s best ever softball recruit.
File spent much of her first two seasons batting in the power positions in the lineup that were occupied by Bass and Weber this season. Very early this year, she was moved into the leadoff spot in the batting order and she produced a .443 average with 15 doubles (which tied her own single season record that is shared with Weber and Ashley Wood), seven triples, two home runs, 14 RBIs, 16 stolen bases and 42 runs.
But she was even better inside the pitcher’s circle where she started against every quality opponent standing in front of the Golden Bears. File was 10-3 with a 1.32 earned run average. In 85 innings, she struck out 52 and walked just 11.
“I tried to pound the (hitting) zone this year because I knew I had a good defense behind me. So that limited my walks,” said File, who does not pitch when she plays elite level travel ball. “I wasn’t intimidated by any batters. I wanted to pound the zone and get hitters swinging at pitches and let my defense work.”
That philosophy also helped her set the program’s single season assists record with 77 which moved her within two assists of breaking Kasey Pettit’s career mark.
File admits it will be an adjustment pitching to a different catcher next season. She knows it will take time to develop the special chemistry she has forged with Bass.
“Even in practices Abey is a great leader,” said File. “Then when we get on the field she is always communicating how many outs and what to do in each situation. So that is going to be different. Abey has been catching me since sixth grade when we were on the middle school team.”
Their final season together ended in heartbreak, though. Playing sectional host for the first time in their careers, Shelbyville lost 3-2 in 10 innings in the sectional opener to Bloomington North. That sent both back into the world of travel softball that has had them traveling much of the summer.
Until this past week, the two have not been in Shelbyville together for nearly a month now. Bass has played for the Shockwave and would be playing this weekend if not for the fact she had dental surgery on Monday.
File is currently in California with her Beverly Bandits squad chasing a second-straight PGF national title.
“I have been everywhere,” laughed File. “I’ve been to Colorado, Georgia, Oklahoma, Illinois, Missouri, we were in Indiana one weekend, and Tennessee.”
File just returned from Oklahoma City where she rejoined the Bandits age group she played with last season to win an ASA national title at the stadium used for the College World Series.
“Being in Oklahoma City was just awesome,” said File, who has plans to return there during her college career at James Madison, who came up one win short of qualifying for this year’s College World Series.
Jeff Brown is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Jeff on Twitter at @iamtsnsports.