Lynchburg, Va. -- Most people only ever saw the results.
They saw the stats in the newspaper's box score or the highlights on the news. They read the press releases about the All-American, the NCAA statistical champion, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference player of the year honors.
But when you ask her teammates and coaches about Caroline Cubbage, it becomes clear; she put in more than enough work for everything she got.
"She spent more time at the field than anybody else did," Lynchburg softball coach Dawn Simmons said of the 2007 Lynchburg College graduate.
It showed in the stat line. Cubbage was Lynchburg softball's first-ever All-American as a freshman in 2004, and she finished her career with three of those honors. She was ODAC player of the year twice and led the Hornets to a league title in 2007. She still holds Lynchburg's single-season and career records in slugging percentage, home runs, runs batted in, and walks and single-season records for doubles and runs scored.
As a junior, Cubbage led all of NCAA Division III in home runs with a school-record 17. As a senior -- a testament to her power -- she led the nation in walks with 54, a Division III record that still stands.
Lynchburg will put a cherry on top of Cubbage's recognitions Friday with her induction into the Lynchburg Sports Hall of Fame. The Alumni Awards dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19 in Burton Dining Hall, and alumni who wish to attend can register here.
The smooth, powerful, left-handed swing still draws comment from those who watched Cubbage don the red and black Hornets uniform. So does her poise.
"When she got up to bat, you always knew something was about to happen," Lynchburg assistant coach Audra Della Rosa, who was a freshman during Cubbage's senior season, said. "But so did everybody else on the field."
Lynchburg baseball coach Lucas Jones overlapped with Cubbage's career, too.
"She would have hit in the middle of our order," the fellow All-American quipped, referring to a Hornet baseball lineup that led the nation in runs, batting average, and slugging percentage in 2005.
Not too shabby for a player who claims she never homered in high school, where she was a standout in both softball and basketball at Turner Ashby High in Bridgewater, Va.
Things fell into place for the strong, 5-foot-11 ballplayer, Cubbage said, in her freshman year at LC.
"The strength and conditioning piece came into play," she said, but she also remembered another realization.
"If you're going to swing," she remembered thinking, "you might as well swing hard."
Much of those results, Simmons said, came from that notorious drive to improve. If a mid-morning class got cancelled, Cubbage was at Simmons' office asking to go hit in the batting cage. After practice, she would work until it was too dark to see. And a like-minded group of teammates was a recipe for success, Simmons recalled.
"That was their work ethic," the coach said, "and that was their drive and passion for the game."
After two years of playing both softball and basketball (She averaged 6.6 points per game in those two basketball seasons.), Cubbage decided to put her focus on the diamond, and her next two seasons were two of the finest in Division III softball history.
In 2006, she hit .489 with the record 17 home runs and 57 RBI. She slugged an even 1.000, meaning she averaged a base per plate appearance.
As a senior, she hit .488 with 15 homers and 56 RBI. She set the single-season school record with 61 runs scored and reached base an astonishing 65.4 percent of the time, many of those due to her Division III-record 54 walks in 48 games.
She was a first-team All-American both years.
"That year was about discipline," she said of being pitched around so much her senior season. "That year was about trying not to be selfish."
But Cubbage's selflessness was another hallmark of her career. As hard as she worked to make herself better, Simmons said, she did the same with her teammates.
"She pushed her teammates, but she also spent time with them," Simmons said. "She was a very humble athlete. She never acted like or showed in any way that she thought she was better than anyone else."
Evidence of that lies in Cubbage's defense. A first baseman in high school, Simmons asked Cubbage to play third base her freshman season. She did so without complaint, despite it being highly unusual for a left-hander to play the position. As a sophomore, Simmons moved her to the outfield, where she said Cubbage blossomed into a fine defensive outfielder.
In 2007, with the ODAC championship on the line, Cubbage made a diving play to record the final out in right field. It was Lynchburg's first conference title in 11 years and clinched the Hornets' first-ever NCAA tournament berth.
Eleven years later, Cubbage is set to be enshrined with the best-ever to play sports at Lynchburg. It's been a banner year for Cubbage, who later coached at Concordia University in Nebraska and nearby Randolph College before her current job as associate director of recruiting at Search Solution Group in Charlotte, N.C.; she was also inducted into Turner Ashby's hall of fame this fall.
And ever the team player, Cubbage gives credit where she felt it due.
"My parents did a lot for me growing up and were extremely supportive through high school and through college," she said.
"It's super-meaningful for my parents as well as for me."
This is the third in a series of features on the 2018 Lynchburg Sports Hall of Fame Class, which will run Monday, Oct. 15-Friday, Oct. 19 in the week leading up to its induction.