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Back to Her Roots on the Family Farm
Softball  . 

Back to Her Roots on the Family Farm

by Brad Muller, Director of Content

Living and working on a 1,500-acre farm in Texas, South Carolina softball freshman Ellie Bailey may be the team champion in social distancing. When the remainder of the 2020 spring season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bailey returned home to Whitewright, Texas, where she grew up on a cattle farm.
Ellie Bailey at home
“We have a ranch where we grow wheat and corn, and we have around 300 head of crossbred cows,” Bailey said. “We also have black and red Angus bulls. We are definitely far from a lot of people.

“I’m helping with whatever my dad needs me to do. Growing up, we worked cows; feeding the cows, making sure they had water, fixing fences. When it gets cold you have to break the ice so they can drink. There’s always so much to do. Yesterday we split firewood for two hours or so.”

Having lived there her whole life, attending to the family business is nothing new.

“Growing up, my sister and I played softball, but on weekends when we weren’t playing, we were going to be working cows. It was a given,” Bailey said. “The best part was that I grew up showing animals as well. That was my favorite part. We had steer and hogs every year, and we would go to the county fair and show them. It was fun.”

Working with livestock is hard work, and Bailey has always been able to mix in some fun aside from her labors.

“We’ve tried to ride the cows before,” Bailey said. “My brother still tries. They go crazy as soon as you jump on, so you stay on for maybe three seconds. When someone stays on a bit longer, it’s fun.

“My favorite part of living where we do right now is that I can walk behind my house, and on the hill, you can see for miles. One of my favorite memories was on the 4th of July the year before, my family and I walked up to the hill and you can see fireworks from everywhere!”

“I really miss playing softball. I’m looking forward to getting back with the team again.”

While she has her routines on the farm, there are always challenges.

“The cows do get out a lot, and that’s why you have to check the fence a lot,” Bailey said. “I remember when I was younger, a big storm hit, and we smelled something so bad the next day. We were driving around looking for something to figure it out, and one of the cows had been struck by lightning. If you’ve never seen that, it basically looks like a frozen cow. He smelled so bad, and he was basically just frozen, standing up!
Ellie Bailey Fall 2019
“The job is never done. You wake up one day and three things happen. The other day, my dad and I got up to feed cows, and we got stuck in the mud in our feed truck. We had to get one of my dad’s workers to come with the tractor and another truck to pull us out. It took all afternoon. Curve balls get thrown at you all the time.”

As much as it’s nice to be home with family, Bailey wishes she was still seeing curve balls on the softball diamond.

“When it first started happening, it was like something you see in movies,” Bailey said. “When I got home and saw all that was going on, I understood it more.  It’s adversity, which is something we’ve been coached up to deal with our entire lives. It’s something we have to deal with.”

Recruited by a lot of schools around the country, there’s a touch of irony in Bailey’s reason from coming to South Carolina.

“Honestly it’s because I wanted to get off of the farm and get into a city,” Bailey laughed. “When I went to South Carolina it was a good mixture of rural and city. It was in the city, but it wasn’t too big. The campus is beautiful, and the coaches are unmatched!”

Bailey is looking on the bright side as she balances online classes for the rest of the semester and looks forward to returning to South Carolina.

“I really miss playing softball. I’m looking forward to getting back with the team again,” Bailey said. “I’m really glad that our seniors will get a chance to come back if they choose to do so. This team is very special. I can’t wait to get back on the field. It’s a fun time whenever we play.

“The best thing is going to be getting to see my teammates. We have a really strong bond on this team.”