Haley Bayreuther continues Craig success after brother, Zach
JANESVILLE Craig High senior Haley Bayreuther is proof there’s nothing like a big brother to give a little sister a competitive edge.
“I’ve grown up playing with my brother and his friends,” said Bayreuther. “Zach and I are always competing against each other. We have a joke in our family and we say, ‘I run the show, or he runs the show.’”
Bayreuther is putting the finishing touches on a significant nine letter-winning, three-sport high school career, playing volleyball, hockey and softball.
Haley’s father, Dan, is her softball coach at Craig. He said being a three-sport athlete in high school is not an easy task.
“As the years go on, it’s harder and harder for kids to do three sports because of the time commitments each coach wants,” Dan said. “Haley likes playing three sports.”
Dan is the straw that stirred the sibling feud.
“My dad was always getting us outside and hitting ground balls or playing kickball or anything,” Bayreuther said. “My dad and mom (Debbie) really stress that we get involved in sports or pretty much anything.’’
Zach graduated from Craig in 2009. Like Haley, he was a three-sport athlete. Zach was Craig’s varsity starting quarterback his senior year, played hockey and was a standout for Craig baseball. Zach is a three-year shortstop at Ripon College.
“He got defensive player of the year (this season),” Haley said. “I said, ‘you’re trying to show me up. What are you doing?’’’
Haley didn’t just play games with her brother and his friends in their backyard.
“I played little league with the boys,” said Bayreuther, who switched to softball in eighth grade. “I had enough of the boys.’’
Away from the diamond, one trip to the Janesville Ice Arena was enough to convince Haley she wanted in on hockey, too.
“Zach started playing hockey, and the first day I went and watched. I said, ‘I’m going to start playing this,’’’ said Bayreuther. “My mom didn’t want me playing with the boys because she thought I’d get hurt.”
Haley joined the girls program as a second grader and played through high school with the Rock County Fury and piled up a list of shining statistics.
Haley became a four-time letter winner and a four-year starter at forward. She was team captain for three seasons and earned Most Valuable Player honors as a junior and sophomore. Haley was the Fury’s Most Dedicated Player as a junior and Rookie of the Year as a freshman.
Haley led the Fury in points (33) last season, leads in career most points (97) and most goals scored (21).
In softball, Haley is a four-year starter at shortstop and was voted a team captain and team Most Valuable Player last season. She has earned All-District and All-Big Eight Conference first-team honors as a junior and sophomore and was second-team as a freshman.
Bayreuther will play softball at UW-Oshkosh next spring. She is Craig’s all-time leader in runs scored (102), hits (117) and second in stolen bases (61).
“I could have gone and played college hockey, but I decided to stay with softball,” Bayreuther said. “I know so much more about softball then I do about hockey, and with hockey you pretty much have to play all year round in order to play in college.’’
Playing softball for a coach who is your father is OK with Bayreuther, but she said there are those days.
“After some games, it’s ‘Do I want to go home?’” Bayreuther said, “But it’s been pretty cool and fun. There are always those times when he’s mad at me or I’m mad at him.’’
As a freshman, Haley gave Dan confidence to play her despite what might appear to be nepotism to some fans.
“My assistant coach, Nicky Zillmer, said she would ‘quit right now’ if I did not bat her leadoff,” Bayreuther said. “She had three hits at Fort (Atkinson) in her first game.”
Haley has been proving her father correct ever since.