It’s been a grand April for Lynn Classical softball star Hannah Byrne.
She’s already hit a home run out of Cy Tenney Park in Peabody and helped save a no-hitter with her glove for pitcher Mackenzie Coppinger. This week she’s in sunny Orlando, Florida with the team on a spring trip. Byrne had two base hits as Classical bested Liverpool, New York, 3-1, in a game Sunday at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex.
Last Friday afternoon during a ceremony at the school, Byrne signed a letter of intent to attend Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Byrne has received a nearly full four-year academic and athletic scholarship to the college where tuition and room and board are approximately $45,000 per year.
Her parents, Henry and Denise, softball coach Chris Warren, and Principal Gene Constantino were present in the principal’s office as Byrne signed the letter.
“It feels good to have this accomplishment,” said Byrne. “Even when I was little, I always knew I wanted to play college softball.”
Byrne grew up playing softball in the West Lynn National Little League. She was also a perennial All-Star in the Greater Lynn Babe Ruth program and this summer she’ll be playing AAU softball for an elite team led by former U.S. Olympic coach Ralph Raymond.
At Classical, she’s been a four-year starter and two-time Northeastern Conference All-Star with a .370 career batting average. She has twice hit the ball out of Grace Rogato Field for home runs, a prodigious achievement.
Byrne is the only senior on this year’s Classical team. She is a member of the National Honor Society.
“When I was an underclassman, I looked up to the girls who went on to college like Kristen Dean and Afton Dean and Sam Barker, who were my role models and it was an eye-opener and helped inspire me to play softball in college,” said Byrne. “I hope that I’m a good example for some of the girls on this year’s team.”
Byrne credited coach Chris Warren for her development as a softball player and a student-athlete.
“Coach Warren has been the best coach I’ve ever had,” said Byrne. “He’s really helped me a lot as a person and player. He’s taught me the right softball techniques and how to get better in the mental aspect of the game.”
Byrne said she’s enjoyer her four years at Classical.
“It’s a great environment,” said Byrne. “All the teachers try to help you succeed.”
Warren, who placed Byrne in the starting lineup in her first game as a freshman, said the 5-foot-11-inch senior and two-year captain has been a hard worker and excellent leader.
“Hannah has worked very hard from her debut four years go until now,” said Warren. “Her leadership skills have really developed along with her athletic ability which has always been there. She’s really stepped in to a huge leadership role because she’s the only senior. She’s off to a good start this season. But more importantly before the season started, she wanted to dedicate the season to my mother and Rob Garrity (father of former Classical pitcher Jen Garrity. It meant a lot myself, to the team and I’m sure it meant a lot to the Garrity family.”
Warren predicts a successful career at Saint Anselm for Byrne.
“I think she’s going to have a great collegiate career,” said Warren. “She has [Lynn English graduate] Cara Crowley there with her as a teammate. That will be really good for her and help with her transition.”
Byrne thanked her parents for their support of all of her endeavors.
“My parents are great,” said Byrne, who has an older sister, Sarah. “They’ve been there with me through everything. They taught me how to play the game. They’re always there when I need something.”
Henry and Denise Byrne smiled as their daughter signed the letter-of-intent.
“We’re just very proud of her,” said Henry Byrne. “She’s just a great kid and we’re blessed.”
When did Mr. Byrne know that his daughter had some special athletic skills?
“In T-Ball and Little League, she just showed signs of being a natural,” said Byrne, who coached his daughter in the West Lynn National Little League organization. “She just worked at it and improved at each level. The family has been very supportive of her and she’s just a great kid, there’s nothing more than we can say. It’s a good time for us.”