High School Sports

Happy travels for Ranch’s Hanewich

BRADENTON — This time next year, Corey Hanewich will be readying herself for Division I softball.

The Lakewood Ranch senior-to-be is taking her sterling softball game to Stanford University, a Super Regional qualifier for the fourth time in five years.

Talent is what got her there. Travel is what got her noticed.

Hanewich spent this summer traveling the country with Norcal Assault, an 18-under softball team based in Sonoma County, Calif. She played in front of collegiate coaches and scouts in California, as well as Colorado, New Jersey and Las Vegas.

That’s a lot of games played in front of a lot of important eyes, generating the sort of exposure she needed to be noticed by one of the best softball programs in the country.

“I probably wouldn’t be going there, to be honest, without the Assault,” Hanewich said.

Hanewich hooked up with the Assault after her local travel team dissolved, going through her father, who knows one of the Assault coaches. One of the few non-Californians on the Assault’s roster, Hanewich moved out there over the summer and lived with a teammate to acclimate herself with her new team.

She also had to adjust her body clock — the first tournament the Assault played was in Las Vegas. It was 11 p.m. Florida time.

“I was in the outfield, yawning,” she said. “Then it became natural.”

The games drew a crowd, too. “We had at least 12 colleges’ coaches at every single game,” Hanewich said, “at every single tournament that we played.”

Hanewich, who batted .432 with 38 hits in the spring for Lakewood Ranch, credited Assault coach Kurt Ludwigsen, who coached at the University of Arizona, for bringing top-tier coaches to the games.

She did the rest from there, all the while readying herself for life away from Manatee County.

“The first week I was gone, it was hard to adjust to not being home,” Hanewich said. “It was definitely an eye-opener. But I got used to it and adjusted to it.”

Traveling with the Assault gave Hanewich a chance to see different parts of the country, including New York City and Las Vegas. She hopes to return to both cities sometime soon, when sightseeing isn’t taking a back seat to softball.

For now, however, it seems as if traveling has worked out for Hanewich. And all that flying has steeled her for those cross-country trips to see her newest softball team.

“I should get used to those five-hour plane rides,” she said.