Standout pitcher Yard leads softball team
Yard in action
By Angel Ospina
Whether its centimeters, inches or yards, Courtney Yard is willing to travel whatever distance is necessary in order for her to accomplish her goals.
Yard, a senior student-athlete for Kean’s softball team has gotten off to a dynamic start as she has saved her best for last, and has started the 2015 season off with a bang.
“I would love to see the team win our conference. We’ve been close most of my years here and I would love to have the title this year,” stated Yard.
The softball team started off their season in Florida for the Rebel Spring Games and left the sunshine state with a 6-3 record.
Yard pitched well on the trip, and added NJAAC Pitcher of the Week to her long-list of accolades accumulated over her career as a Cougar.
“The sport isn’t only about you, so when you make an error or are having an off day, the girl next to you is there to pick you up,” said Yard.
Yard has practiced that team-first mentality for many years, as she has been playing the sport she loves since she was a child.
Playing since the tee-ball days, where parents watch their five-year-old kids chop at a baseball on a tee, with over-sized t-shirts and helmets, is where the love of the game began for Yard.
“I love that it’s a team sport. It’s awesome to be a part of such a good group of girls that will always be there for you.” she said with a huge smile on her face.
Yard is from Stockton, New Jersey and she attended Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemmington.
Fast-forward from swinging at the ball on a tee in Stockton till now where she is capping off a career where she may go down as one of the best softball pitchers in Kean’s history.
“I can’t believe after all these years, this is my last year,” she said in a reminiscent tone.
Yard uses experience of her past to fuel her motivation for her final year on the diamond.
“Last year we played really well, and losing to Montclair in the super regionals was so crappy because we have beaten them before, but they’re always great competition,” Yard stated.
Last years season ended in a heart breaking lost to rival school Montclair State University but she’s put the past in her rearview mirror.
“I am just always looking for ways to get better and make sure I give 110% every time so I leave with no regrets, so that helps me get through both good and bad games,” said Yard.
“I am self-motivated and my dad has always been a big influence in sports,” she said.
Yard uses that self-motivation in every aspect of her life on and off the field. She is a special education and a math K-12 major and hopes to be a math teacher in the near future.
“Court is a great leader, she’s the type of person who leads by example,” said former teammate and now assistant coach Kelley Moorehead. “Everyone looks up to her whether they are older or younger than her. She is very hard working and very positive. She’s one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever had the honor to play with not to mention she’s an amazing pitcher.”
Yard referred to herself as a “home body” for the simple fact that she enjoys being home and spending time with her family.
Yards strong personality and leadership goes a long way when dealing with her “family” on the field, especially since this years team is stacked with freshman.
“My advice to the younger girls is to enjoy every single minute you’re on the field.” said Yard.
“She is a great leader and an even better role model for younger softball players and girls in general.” said senior Stephanie Gilbert who is also a pitcher.
Gilbert and Yard have been teammates for six years as they played for Top Gun, a women’s competitive softball organization out of Edison, New Jersey.
“She is an amazing person and an even better friend.” said Gilbert. “I would always want Courtney on my side in any situation.”