Butler senior Callie Dennison always wanted to play Division I softball.
Dennison’s brother played baseball and her sister played softball in college—the talent runs in the family.
Dennison is living out her dreams with Butler’s squad. The four-year player has proven to be a sort of dream for the Bulldogs as well.
Dennison has been all over the field the past four years. She has played all nine positions for the Bulldogs, including seven this season alone.
“Callie is a very versatile player and can literally play every position possible,” sophomore teammate Krosley Ogden said. “I know it cannot be easy for her to show up to a game and have no clue where she will have to play that game, but she always has the most positive attitude about wherever she has to play, and it really shows how much of a team player she is.”
Dennison said she doesn’t mind playing all over the field, but she feels most at home on the mound. She said she enjoys having the game in her hands.
“I’ve always liked pitching the most,” Dennison said. “I was the starting pitcher on my travel team in high school. I just enjoy being involved in every play.”
She picked up the sport of softball at the age of eight, and her family was a big influence in her softball career.
Dennison’s father coached her as a child, and her older sister, Corinne, played softball her whole life. Dennison said she always wanted to follow in her sister’s footsteps, and she even wears the number eight because of her baseball-playing brother, Thijs.
“I followed in their footsteps, and I liked to mock everything they did,” she said. “They are why I have started and never stopped.”
Her family ties have remained strong throughout her college career. Last year, she wore a necklace her sister gave her with “never give up” inscribed on it. She made a routine of kissing it before each at bat.
“She got it for me last season when I was in kind of a slump and it helped me get out of it,” Dennison said.
She jokingly said she should bring the routine back this season. She has nine hits and a batting average of .184, a number Dennison said she wants to raise in her final collegiate season.
When it came time to choose a college, Dennison considered many factors.
“I picked Butler more so for the academics and the fact that I could play softball and join a sorority,” she said. “All three of those were a big reason, because at most schools you usually just get one or the other. The academics were the biggest, but once I started talking to coach (Scott Hall), it just seemed like the right fit.”
She saw playing time right from the beginning, playing in 40 games as a freshman and starting 28. Dennison said after her first hit, a triple against Louisiana Tech, she knew she was ready to play at the collegiate level.
Dennison made her first appearance on the mound since her freshman year in Butler’s inaugural Big East Conference game against Creighton. She pitched one inning and struck out two batters.
In addition to her play on the field, Dennison has received recognition off the field. Dennison and Ogden made bustedcoverage.com’s 2014 Ultimate Guide to The Hottest NCAA Softball Players.
“We both laughed about it,” Dennison said. “We are honored; we wished we were on it for our softball ability and not our looks, but it was still funny.”
In her four years with the team, Dennison said she has made more memories than she can count. She said the team has served as a family away from home and has helped her become the person she is today.
“I can’t think of just one memory, but my teammates are awesome,” Dennison said. “From freshman year until now, girls come and go, but we have such a close team and have had a close team since my freshman year. We have so many memories. I cry with them, I laugh with them. It’s tough to pick just one moment.”
One teammate that has experienced many of these memories with Dennison is senior Krista Hakola, who was there for many of Dennison’s college softball firsts.
“I have many memories with Callie over the years,” Hakola said. “One moment that I think of is when she hit her first career home run, because it was a product of all her hard work over the years. It was great to see her so confident and playing so well.”
What once was just a dream to Dennison is now a reality. She used to walk to the beat of her older siblings. Now, one can see Dennison walking to “Drop that Nae Nae,” her walk up song, with bat in hand—a Division I athlete in the Big East who created her own path.