Softball Factory alum Skyler Shellmyer has committed to taking her softball talents to Northwestern University and has received a scholarship for her outstanding efforts on the field.
“It was a deep sigh of relief [to commit],” Shellmyer admits. “It was an amazing process, but it was also very stressful. I was very, very happy to receive a scholarship from Northwestern because I have worked hard at my game, and I have put the hours in. This is my craft, so it feels great finally getting rewarded by it!”
Shellmyer, who was ranked the #25 recruit in the Nation for the class of 2018 by Flo Softball, has put up numbers throughout her softball career that make it easy to understand why Northwestern wants her in a Wildcats jersey. The senior shortstop and leadoff batter for the Urbandale High School J-Hawks first joined the high school team as an eighth grader and has seen action as a starter in all 185 games she has played in ever since, collecting Second Team-All State accolades that first year, and First Team All-State in the three years that followed. In addition to that, she has also been named to the Iowa State High School All-Tournament Team those three years.
In route to becoming a Wildcat, Shellmyer has made sure to leave her mark at Urbandale as a J-Hawk, currently holding the school’s records in most career at-bats (623), runs (234) and hits (327), as well as highest career batting average (.528). Her impressive 327 hits are approaching a national NFHS record and her 103 RBI, 33 doubles, 20 triples, 11 home runs and 114 stolen bases are on pace to break five more high school records.
The Urbandale, IA native has attended eight different Softball Factory events, including a National Tryout, Softball Factory Fall Classic and the 2015 Softball Factory All-America Pre-Season Tournament to name a few, and Shellmyer and her family credit Softball Factory as something that helped her prepare for this moment.
“Softball Factory definitely taught me to work hard,” Shellmyer answered when asked what she has enjoyed most about working with Softball Factory over the past four years. “All the camps I went to were long days and short nights. We would have to get up at six in the morning, play and work all day and we probably wouldn’t go to bed until 11 that night, and then we would have to do it all again. Nothing has been harder than that. They taught me how to work hard and that if I want something I’m going to have to work my butt off to get it. It’s not going to come easy and those camps were definitely not easy.”
The hard work put in gave Skyler all the confidence she needed to raise her game and to prepare for the next level.
“Softball Factory helped me a lot with my base running. It gave me more confidence on the bases and it helped me work on my lead offs. Playing college softball is going to be hard… especially the practices, and I think Softball Factory really prepares one for those hard practices. Looking back at it, if I can make it through four 12-hour days with Softball Factory, I can make it through any softball practice no matter how long it is.
In addition to work on the field, Shellmyer credits Softball Factory with providing the ground work with what the college recruiting process was going to be like.
“On the recruiting side, the coaches were super realistic with things,” Skyler said. “They taught me to be respectful on and off the field and always be wary about my social media and what I post. And with the high-level tournaments, they definitely exposed me to a decent amount of colleges and created a whole resume for me at Softball Factory.”
Her dad, Chad Shellmyer, echoes his daughter’s sentiments, remembering two Softball Factory events in particular that changed everything.
“The Vero Beach experience was a game changer for us… it was a glimpse at what college ball players must go through and endure. It strengthened our daughter’s maturity of the game. Having to be on your own for a week with the game we love is a challenge and a great experience. It formed goals and helped make decisions as to what level we really wanted to play at. It was the first touch of some Division I schools that were interested.”
“The Oklahoma City experience was an eye opener!” he remembers. “To be around those players and see some of the players that Skyler played against… that opened our eyes to see we can do this. The teammates and friends made through the Softball Factory have endured as well. My wife and I are still friends with some of them, and Sky has met many players through the Softball Factory, broadening her circle.”
Shellmyer, who is a member of the school’s Track and Field team in addition to softball, also credits being a two-sport athlete as something that’s helped to grow her game.
“With track specifically, I think it has helped me with my endurance and work ethic,” she reveals. “Being a two-sport athlete in general I think has made me stronger both mentally and physically.”
Skyler is excited to find out what the future holds for her softball career.
“The first thing on my plate right now is finishing my high school career strong,” she answered when asked what her goals are moving forward, “But moving on to college, one of my goals is to start at short stop at Northwestern. I also want to be a four time All-American and then eventually play on the Olympic team and maybe even move on to professional softball.”