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Going Three for Three
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Going Three for Three

In baseball and softball, the triple is the rarest of batting feats. Many consider a triple to be merely a double that’s taken a fortuitous bounce or a would-be home run that’s gotten an “unlucky” carom off an outfield wall. Rare as a triple may be, student-athlete Anna Ball pulls one off nearly every day at Notre Dame.

Anna is a junior who exemplifies a balance between three facets of the Notre Dame experience – education, service, and athletics. A triple – in the classroom, around the NDC community, and on the playing field. She is:

  • an education major, planning to teach middle school social studies and language arts
  • actively involved with the College’s Campus Ministry program
  • and performing at a high level in softball, a sport she’s passionate about.

Anna BallAnna, a Bellville, Ohio native, chose Notre Dame because she believed, “it’s the best place where I can continue my softball career, have an opportunity to serve at an outreach level, and follow a meaningful academic course.” Since arriving on College Road in fall 2006, she has been nothing short of impressive on all three counts.

Any student athlete will agree that balancing academics and athletics is no small feat. But as Anna turns in Dean’s List performances and record-breaking softball exploits, she has also found time for socially conscious volunteer work through Campus Ministry. According to Brian Emerson, former director of campus ministry and current associate dean for student affairs at Notre Dame, “Anna is one of the hardest workers I’ve even encountered and brings passion to her involvements. In Campus Ministry, I knew that I could always count on Anna to deliver. She is the kind of student we are proud to have at NDC.”

In her freshman and sophomore years, Anna was able to be deeply involved in Campus Ministry, planning events for the group and helping out with Mass. But facing increasing demands on her time, she had the maturity to realize it was best to be a participant and allow others to take over that role. Now, as her schedule will allow, she remains active in Campus Ministry programs, including visits to the Cleveland Food Bank and participating in the annual Appalachian Immersion Trip held each fall.

(B)all-American

Anna also shines on the softball diamond. In just two seasons at Notre Dame, the left-handed slugging third baseman has just about rewritten the program’s record book. Coming into the 2008 season, she ranked first in career on-base percentage (.545), slugging percentage (.786), batting average (.496), doubles (44), and runs batted in (93).

Last season, Anna hit .496 while knocking in 56 runs en route to earning the American Mideast Conference’s (AMC) Player of the Year Award and a nod as a Second Teamer on the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) All-American Team (a first for NDC Softball). She clubbed 26 extra-base hits (20 doubles, six home runs) and sported an NDC-record .770 slugging percentage in 160 plate appearances.

In 2007, she set NDC single-season records for hits (69), runs batted in (56), and on-base percentage (.550), while tying her own single-season mark for batting average of .496.

Having a Ball

Working alongside fellow students, Anna took part in Campus Ministry's 2007 Appalachian Immersion trip.Anna’s performances have spurred the Falcon program to new heights. The Blue & Gold earned a program-record 32 wins in her freshman season (2006), only to top that figure a year later, with 33. The Falcons posted a 65-20 record (.765 winning percentage) in that time.

“Anna takes pride in everything she does,” said NDC head coach Amy Kyler, who took the helm of the program this spring. “Failure is not an option for her.”

Kyler also notes that, along with that persistence and pursuit of excellence, goes an attitude of balance, perspective, and humility:

“She has been successful in life and on the field because she is able to prioritize the things she needs to work on. She is very active with other organizations within the community, and I believe this contributes greatly to her successes. Her communication with others enables her to learn and grow. Her ability to know what her weaknesses are allows her to move forward with a plan. This is how she has developed into such a well rounded individual and an incredible softball player.”

Skip Snow is the sports information director for Notre Dame College.