By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore.—Emily Elliott has a way of getting the job done.
For the about five-one Dayton Senior, she finds ways to put the work in and continue to improve thanks to her strong work ethic that got her to this point Thursday as she hovers around the decorated table in the library on her High School campus, just a short-walk across the street from where she plays her home softball games at.
Her work ethic started when she was younger as her mother, Patty Elliott, pointed out. She, being Emily, was a natural worker that lived up to the old saying ‘hard work pays off’ as Emily was about to sign her Letter of Intent to play at Mt. Hood Community College for softball.
“We definitely worked on that since she was little,” said Emily’s mother Patty Elliott. “We always had to show her that she had to do her own chores, take care of whatever she wanted to. She just became a natural worker, that hard work would pay off and she kept working hard at that.”
And her work ethic showed itself while she was at Saints practice for her visit and was practicing with the squad as she took it amongst herself to run with the team. All because she felt like her workout that day wasn’t as good as what the coaches wanted from the team.
“One of the stories that I have is when I showed up at Mt. Hood for my first day and I did a campus tour with all the girls and I showed up to practice and the coach was like, ‘this is the worst practice I’ve ever seen you do. You’ve guys done terrible’,” starts Emily Elliott on the practice. “And she made us run poles for half-an-hour. Made us do burpees, made us do crunches, made us do push-ups everything for half-hour, 45 minutes. Just sprint, sprint, sprint.”
That’s when the coaches approach her about not doing it if she didn’t want to. Emily declined the offer and wanted to run with the team.
“Then she was like, ‘you don’t have to run. Your new, don’t worry about it, I’m not going to make you do that’. But I went out there and I ran with everybody just because I didn’t do so great and all the girls were busting their butts and I didn’t want to be that one girl who opted out not to do it because I was new there.”
Two of the Mt. Hood Community College girls threw up behind the dugout during the practice, neither one was Elliott as she got back to the car and looked at her mom and express her love for the program.
For Elliott, she admits that the two-year route is an unorthodox route saying a lot of athlete’s wanting to go to the four-year route right out of High School for College Athletics. Emily on the other hand, like other athletes do, decided to go the two-year route for the chance to play now instead of waiting one-, two-, maybe more years to see the field.
And it goes back to her work ethic and her hunger to get better. She believes that the two-year route was best for her to achieve her goals and expectations after she wraps up her career in a Lady Pirates Uniform.
“So a lot of people go straight to four years right off the bat and they talk about, ‘oh I wish I would have gone to a two-year school first because I feel like I went to a four-year University and I didn’t get to play my first two years anyways,” starts Elliott. “You don’t get better by sitting on the bench, you just don’t. you get better from game reps and live game situations, so that’s why going to two-years is going to be best for me because I’ll get to play and I’ll get to grow as a player.”
With one more year left at Dayton, coming off a 3A State Title game that Elliott helped win on a sac-fly after fellow returnee Cate Jacks tied the game with Rainier up at 2 earlier in the game, Elliott knows that it’s going to be up them as returners to help their younger counterparts brace for what is to come.
Elliott remembers what it was like as an underclassman on Varsity as a freshman Left Fielder when Senior Center Fielder Teddi Hop got after her about communicating with teammates after Hop went crashing into the fence going after a fly ball during practice.
Both joke about it now as Elliot calls Hop one of the best Center Fielders she’s ever played with
“So it taught me how to be a tough player and look out for my teammates, I wasn’t watching. I was watching the ball and I wasn’t looking out for my teammates and that taught me how to be a tougher player and have thicker skin,” starts Elliott on the situation with Hop. “We’re going to have a really young team this year and the way I’ve always been taught is lead by example and that’s the kind of leader I want to be.
“I don’t want to be the kind of leader that yells at girls because that won’t want to make girls want to do anymore than they want to. I want to be the type of leader that leads by example and makes girls want to push harder and I think it’ll be a fun year ahead. I’m excited to see what this season holds for us and I’m excited to have a bunch of young girls and a bunch of new players on the team.”