One look at Dacey Hassey's swing and there was little question that the Carson High senior would be taking it to the next level.
Hassey made official on Friday when she signed a letter of intent to play softball for Santa Barbara City College, one of California's premiere community college progams, both on the field and academically. Last year, Santa Barbara went 35-15.
Hassey has been recruited as a catcher, her position at Carson, and few catchers have her defensive and offensive skills. She also has outstanding speed, especially for a catcher.
"She's got a great super compact swing," said Rob Wirth, who has been one of her club team coaches ever since she was 11-years-old. "The best plate blocking catcher I've ever seen."
"That means a lot coming from him," Hassey said.
Hassey was recruited by several four-year and two-year schools, including Lassen Community College. But Santa Barbara took the lead when it saw Hassey play in the Triple Crown Tournament in Las Vegas last October.
Hassey verbally committed to Santa Barbara before the high school season began, but was still holding out hope for a better opportunity. She said Santa Barbara understood her position.
"They were really cool about it," she said. Hassey said the school told her all it wanted was to be informed if she changed her mind, otherwise there would always be a place for her.
"I wanted to kind of keep my options open for a while," she said. "Just in case somebody came to me with some great deal."
But the chance to got to a school practically on the Pacific Ocean also helped in making her final decision.
"That definitely helped, beachside parking," Hassey said. "It's a beatiful place let me tell you."
With Santa Barbara's starting catcher leaving after this season, the expectation is for Hassey to come right in and fill the starting role. Another major factor in her decision is that most of Santa Barbara's players go on to play for four-year schools.
One option could be to go on to play for UC Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara City logically has a high number of students who transfer to UC Santa Barbara.
"That was pretty important," said Hassey about Santa Barbara's track record of placing players at four-year schools. "It's a dream come true and a stepping stone at the same time."
Hassey, who maintains a 3.54 grade point average, plans to enter the athletic training field. She's having another monster season for CHS. Heading into this week, Hassey was hitting .586 (41-for-70) with two home runs, 30 RBI, a .622 on base percentage and an .814 slugging percentage.
She'll continue to play this summer for Wirth and Jim Miller for the Nevada Lightning 18 and under team, a club who Hassey has played with since she was 15.
"I just think she's a great asset, a leader on the team," Miller said. "She's an intense player on the field, hates to lose."
"Who doesn't hate to lose?" Hassey said.
Miller went on to say Hassey is "one of the hardest workers we've had," a sentiment echoed by Wirth.
"I remember when she first showed up," Wirth said. "She was a spark plug." Wirth also remembered her enthusiasm. "It hasn't stopped. I don't see it stopping. She did a great job."
Hassey said Miller and Wirth "get plenty of credit" for what she's achieved. "Jim played a big part in getting me to actually talk to coaches," she said. "Rob has helped my fielding and hitting more than any coach I've had."