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Lead-off Kierra Hyrns brings ‘fearless’ mindset to Whitehall softball team

Vikings first-year head varsity softball coach Kyle McGrew also describes his shortstop as ‘tough’ and ‘electric.’

WHITEHALL – Kierra Hyrns recalls playing softball since the age of 6. She’s been competitive even longer.

“I think what really got me interested in softball was seeing my older sister (Anela Hyrns) doing it,” she said. “I am really competitive, so when I saw her doing something I wasn’t, I had to immediately try it.”

First-year Whitehall head varsity softball coach Kyle McGrew is grateful for that. Hyrns, now a senior, is a feisty lead-off hitter and starting shortstop for the Vikings.

The 17-year-old daughter of Megan St. Amour and James Taylor has one older sibling and three younger siblings. She’s a good student with a 3.76 GPA.

McGrew uses two words to describe Hyrns on the softball field: Fearless and tough.

“No matter the opponent or situation, she will battle through it,” said McGrew, who first met Hyrns her sophomore year when he was coaching junior varsity softball.

“She is a very tough individual. She has grown tremendously since she was younger and continues to grow every day. But the one thing she has always shown and will continue to show is her toughness.”

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

McGrew added the word “electric” in describing Hyrns at the plate this season. He said no matter what part of the game Whitehall is in, she does a great job of igniting a spark in the dugout with her battles at the plate.

For Hyrns, hitting is only part of the fun. If she gets on base, look out. She is 21-for-22 on stolen bases this season.

Overall, Hyrns is hitting .457 (42-of-92) with nine doubles, and three triples. She has 18 RBIs, 46 runs scored, and a .569 on-base percentage.

“My most favorite thing to do would probably have to be baserunning,” she said. “Every time I get on base I, like, have to test my limits.”

Hyrns has tried volleyball and in middle school she’s played basketball, but softball is her sport. When she’s not playing shortstop, you might see her in the outfield, particularly in right field.

In school, Hyrns’ favorite class is physics. The fact that younger sister Tyla Hyrns also is in the class makes it even cooler, she said.

McGrew said he has not had Kierra Hyrns in his math classes, but he’s certain she would have put her heart and soul into it.

Hyrns said that McGrew inspires her in softball and in life.

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

“Ever since he has taken the program over, he has been putting in countless amounts of effort on and off the field to make sure he can build a good program,” she said.

“No matter the circumstance, he will make time to help you with something simple, like your swing. Or he will let you talk to him if you ever just need someone to listen. He will push you to be doing the absolute best for yourself at all times.”

For Hyrns and her Whitehall classmates, commencement day is this Thursday at the Viking Athletic Center.

Her senior softball season is winding down as well. One of Hyrns’ goals was to finish with more wins than losses this season. At 16-17-1 overall now with three regular-season games remaining plus at least one state tournament contest, the Vikings have a chance to get over the .500 mark.

Whitehall drew Fruitport in a Division 2 district semifinal at Oakridge on June 1. The winner of that game very likely will face powerhouse Oakridge in the district finals that day.

It’s Senior Night for Whitehall today as the Vikings host Howard City Tri County in a nonleague doubleheader, which can be an emotional event for players, coaches, and parents.

Competitive as she is in softball, Hyrns is serious about her future as well.

She’s also realistic when it comes to setting career goals for herself.

“Overall, I want to be happy with the outcome,” said Hyrns, who plans to attend Grand Valley State University for its pre-dental program. “I plan on being a dentist, and I plan to find my own version of ‘success.’”

Photo by Emily Vanderstelt for CatchMark

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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