Amber Bingaman just assumed it was your typical single last Thursday against Line Mountain. There wasn’t anything too extraordinary about it.
But once she safely reached first, Upper Dauphin first base coach Bob Ligon fist-bumped Bingaman and told her congrats.
“Congrats on what?” Bingaman said. After all, it was just a single, not a game-winning walk-off home run or anything.
“You got the hits record,” Ligon told the senior Trojan.
Bingaman wasn’t caught off guard on a creeping-up record; she knew coming into the 2014 season that she was within striking distance. However, Bingaman was a little off in her head of what her count was at. She thought she still needed a few to get it.
After a back-and-forth conversation during the next at-bat with Bingaman and Ligon at first base, she finally realized that, yes, she was Upper Dauphin’s new all-time hits leader.
“I’m really happy about it. I’ve trained pretty much my whole life to accomplish what I accomplished, but I wouldn’t be able to get anything without my team behind me and pushing me to do more than I thought I was capable of doing,” she said.
For Bingaman though, it meant more than simply being the all-time hits leader at Upper Dauphin. For her, it was sort of a family affair.
You see back in 2002, Bingaman’s cousin, Kristie, had become the school’s all-time hits leader with 101. Her record only stood for six years until Kristen Ligon broke it in 2008. It was broken again by Sarah Deitrich in 2010.
So, as a sixth-grader, Bingaman had her eyes on bringing the record back to the Bingaman name.
“(Her) record was broken and I still remember talking to my dad about it and that was my goal since I was in sixth grade,” Bingaman said. “Me actually making it come true was unbelievable.”
It was only a matter of time until Bingaman would set the record. She entered 2014 needing only 11 hits and being a dominant hitter, it wasn’t really a question of if she would, but when she would.
“She knew that she was getting close. She really wanted to get to 100 hits and she knew that she was about 11 hits away (from the record), and that was pretty much one of her goals,” Upper Dauphin coach Chad Everhart said. “She wanted to take care of it early and put it behind (her) and move on with the year and concentrate on defending our league title.”
She broke Deitrich’s record of 106 and currently is at 116, with 21 hits on the season after Monday’s win over East Juniata.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, Bingaman also became the school’s all-time home runs leader just two days after breaking the hits mark. Against Williams Valley, Bingaman hit a home run to put her at 13 for her career, breaking Deitrich’s mark of 12.
“I was shocked actually when I found out that I was (the home run leader). I’m happy,” Bingaman said. “I wouldn’t be anything without the team that I grew up through my travel ball teams (with), and through high school in general. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish anything (without them).”
It’s no surprise Bingaman set both school marks this year given her dedication and work ethic to the game. Everhart often sees her at the softball field after a practice still taking batting practice or catching fly balls with her father, Ken.
“I feel I have a strong work ethic. My dad pretty much drills it into me: You reap what you sow, and if you’re not going to put the work into it, you won’t get anything out of it,” Bingaman said. “I put work into it and later down the road, I trusted him and it did pay off.”
Jon Gerardi covers high school softball for The Daily Item. Email comments to email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @JonGerardi.