CCA retires Henderson’s softball jersey

Published 12:13 pm Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Abby Henderson began her varsity softball career at Crenshaw Christian Academy in her fifth-grade year. After Henderson’s successful high school career, the school honored the student athlete by retiring her jersey, No. 12.

“One of the main reasons [we retire a jersey] is if they’ve signed to play college ball somewhere and to memorialize what they have represented to the school, what they’ve accomplished,” said assistant softball coach Eddie Billings. “It’s not often a player starts in fifth grade and never stopped starting. Abby has always been talented, athletic, and a good kid.”

Since her freshman year, Henderson has batted .500, averaged 50 hits per year, and gained 58 RBIs. She has only been struck out 22 times, less than 5.5 times per year.

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Recognition for her accomplishments felt shocking and yet rewarding to Henderson who is a player concentrating on the game, and not her own statistics. 

“It was amazing,” Henderson said. “I didn’t know anything about it. I was very shocked and proud. I was very happy to  have it.”

According to Billings, Henderson was a team leader from the beginning of her softball career.

“She was a starter from fifth grade on and from that point forward she has meant a lot to the program,” Billings said. “There’s no real way to put it in words. It’s just something you kind of know.”

Henderson has launched 20,028 pitches in her career, an equivalent of a little over 163 miles. She stranded 945 base runners, ensuring a minimum of 315 runs that did not score. 

The star player also struck out 35% of batters she faced, a number that increased to 44% later in her career.

Billings said Henderson has been a foundation, the core of the team.

“She was a constant for all those years,” Billings said. “We knew who we were going to have on the mound. We knew she was capable of what she was going to do and we just really had to fill the holes in around her to give her some protection on defense and be able to bat around her on offense.”

Henderson has been a mentor to younger players, working to coach them in pitching whenever needed.

“We’ve got a young player, Lily Jones, who started on varsity this year in sixth grade and played in right field for us,” Billings said. “Abby taught her to pitch.  All the younger girls have looked up to her.”

As an advanced player, Henderson said she enjoyed helping other girls enhance their game.

“I gave pitching lessons for a little while to help them out,” Henderson said. “I know some of the girls already said they looked up to me a lot and I was happy to be that person. I didn’t realize I was until now, but it was very eye opening and I was very grateful for it.”

Henderson’s parents, Lisa and Ryan, expressed pride in their daughter and recognize the hard work she puts into the game.

“We’re proud of her and of all the world that she’s put in over the years,” Lisa said. “That was really nice of them to honor her that way. Abby has been mentored by a lot of people and she tries to help younger players too. I think coaching might be in her future one day.”