Those use to seeing Abi Chipps in the familiar blue of the Jefferson Blue Jays will take some consolation that, as she leaves after graduation, that she’ll still be wearing blue. It’s a bit of a different shade, but when she suits up for the Indiana State Sycamores next academic year, she’ll still be in that familiar blue. Chipps signed with ISU back in November to join the Sycamores’ softball team.
There isn’t much Chipps didn’t do on the Jefferson diamond, starting all four years. This past season, as the team fell to St. Pius in the district semifinal by one run and finished 12-10, it ended a career where Chipps held many school records. She also broke the state record for most singles in a career. In her last game, she collected four hits of the five the Jays were able to muster. For the season she hit .690, scored 49 runs, struck out just once, and had 47 stolen bases. She was first team all-state, all-region, all-district, and all-conference.
Chipps recently had a chance to reflect on her career, as well as speak of her future in Terre Haute.
Q: Why Indiana State? Why did you end up choosing to further your career there?
Chipps: “Indiana State was actually a last minute option for me. I was almost dead set on committing to SEMO before I got a call from Indiana State. Funny story actually…my dad didn’t want to go for a visit to ISU because he didn’t like the idea of a last minute change. But I went over there and fell in love with everything they had to offer.”
Q: What other schools did you consider?
Chipps: “Like I said, SEMO and Indiana State were my top two choices, but I also received offers from Murray State and Wichita State.”
Q: How did you get your start in softball? Was it always a dream of yours to play college ball, and when did you think it was a realistic possibility?
Chipps: “Up until my sixth grade year, I actually played Little League baseball. I was very hesitant to make this switch, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I fell in love with the game. I realized young that softball was something that I want to be around for my whole life.”
Q: You were someone that played other sports in high school. Did you ever consider just sticking with softball exclusively? Why did you continue to play other sports?
Chipps: “I played basketball and ran track as well as being involved in many other clubs. I never even considered exclusively playing softball. I’ve always been told that being a multi-sport athlete is good for young kids. It gives your mind and body a break from your main sport. It also makes athletes more athletic and teaches them how to make adjustments and adapt to change.”
Q: Was track every a consideration for you in college? The two sports obviously overlap in college.
Chipps: “No, I pretty much knew that wherever I decided to go to college, I wouldn’t be fast enough to run track. Plus, softball will keep me busy enough as it is.”
Q: Who have been your biggest influences in the game, either directly or indirectly?
Chipps: “This might sound cliche, but I have all of my coaches to thank for being great influencers. I feel like every coach has taught me something that the others haven’t. I’ve learned over my years playing sports that no coach is comparable to another. Every coach teaches differently, and every athlete learns differently. For me, I try to learn even from mistakes made by coaches, not that coaches ever make mistakes. I also can’t forget to give some credit to my family. I would say my parents have done a pretty good job of raising me, and I thank them for introducing me to softball, well, actually baseball. Also, I am so lucky to have the best grandma in the whole wide world. MB is at every single game, and if she can sneak in to watch practice, she’s there too. I can’t thank her enough for everything she has done. She’s my #1 fan, and I’m also hers.”
Q: What is the one memory from your Jefferson career that stands out the most for you?
Chipps: “Since I just poured my heart out, I’ll try to make this one light. Brittney Bittick, a.k.a. Horse Girl, rode her horse to practice one day this year and tied it to a tree until her mom came and picked it up.”
Q: When softball is over, what do you think we’ll see Abi Chipps doing with her life?
Chipps: “To be completely honest, I’m not too sure. Hopefully, by the end of my first year in college, I’ll have a better idea. However, as of now, I can only say that I want to coach softball.”
Q: Finally, for all those little ones who have dreams to do what you’re doing, what’s the best advice that you could give them?
Chipps: “Be who you want to be. If you have a dream to grow up and be a professional football player, rock star, or even just a teacher, don’t let someone else change your mind. Why not you?”