Former Clear Creek Amana Clipper Bailey Olerich hopes to be positive light for Hawkeye softball team

Raven Moore
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Clear Creek Amana's Bailey Olerich signed her letter of intent to join the Iowa Hawkeyes' softball team on Nov. 11, 2021.

After capping off her successful softball career at Clear Creek Amana, outfielder Bailey Olerich will be exchanging her blue and white uniform for the Hawkeyes' black and gold.

The 2022 second-team Class 4A all-state selection signed her letter of intent to join the Hawkeyes last November. It's school that she admits she had her eye on during the entire recruiting process.

“I only really had Iowa in mind,” Olerich said. "I just wanted to be somewhere where I knew that my family could still be close to me. Plus, it's a great school for pediatric medicine, which is what I want to go into. So, everything just worked together."

Unlike most softball players who have worked their entire lives to get the chance to play the sport on the Division I level, Olerich's path was a bit more unconventional.

An accomplished athlete, Olerich's love for sports grew out of her time as a gymnast, which she credited for helping her be a better softball player.

“Gymnastics gave me my strength,” Olerich said. “It is such a competitive sport, so you have to have a determined mindset and always believe that you can do whatever challenge that is in front of you. There are so many different things that you have to do in gymnastics, like the bar or performing on the mat, which is similar to softball because in it you have to play the field and also come up to bat.

"It has helped with my mindset to know that, even if I make a mistake in the field, I can come back and get a hit.”

That mindset is what led her to become one of the cornerstones of the Clippers' softball team as well as draw the attention of college coaches.

Iowa head coach Renee Gillispie offers up a high-five to a base runner during a NCAA Big Ten Conference softball game against Wisconsin, Friday, March 25, 2022, at Bob Pearl Field in Iowa City, Iowa.

One of those was Iowa's Renee Gillispie, who will be entering her fifth season as Hawkeye coach next season.

Gillispie believes Olerich can help her team improve upon last season's 21-31 record, which included a 3-20 mark in Big Ten Conference play.

“You can tell that she is a quality player,” Gillispie said. “You watch her game in and game out, and you see that she takes care of business. She makes plays and does a great job at the plate. We know that she is going to come in and continue to grow with our program.”

As a senior, Olerich was a driving force for the Clippers, with stellar hitting and efficiency in the outfield.

Clear Creek Amana outfielder Bailey Olerich, shown fielding a ball during 2020 game, will stay near home and play for the Iowa Hawkeyes next season.

She led the team with 61 hits and 46 runs scored. She also had 14 RBIs as the team's leadoff batter. In the outfield, she had a fielding percentage of .970. 

Even more than Olerich's statistics, Gillispie said her character made her an even more enticing prospect.

“One of the things that I liked most about Bailey was her fight,” Gillispie said. “She was always very competitive and never gave up. She did that while also picking up players along the way. If one of her teammates has a hard-hit ball that results in an easy out, she is always picking up the kids and trying to help them stay positive.”

For Olerich, having a positive mindset is just as important as anything that she could do on the field, especially because the game comes with so much uncertainty.

"Softball is such a crazy sport, almost like a roller coaster," Olerich said. "I know that not everyone is going to be going 4-for-4 every game, but I know that I can maintain a great mindset and be a good teammate. That is the important thing for me."

Now that she has been through the process, Olerich wanted to offer current high school players advice as they prepare for their own recruiting journeys.

"My biggest advice is to not give up,” Olerich said. “One thing that will help get players through this tough time is to get their name and face out there. If you have coaches that can help you, go to them. They are your best shot, especially with ones who are well-known. They can get your name out there for you and it looks good because it comes from them.”