Back before Imani Ballard picked up her first back, she says she was a much different person.

“Honestly, I was probably one of the shiest little girls you’d ever meet,” said Ballard.

You might not believe that when you see and definitely hear the South Bend Riley senior on the field.

“She’s one of the players that is not afraid of being that gritty ball player and making sure that her teammates are following her,” said Riley Head Coach Katie Boocher.

“It’s been my love,” said Ballard.

A big driving force for Imani is her family, in particular, her brother Walter.

“Whether it’s school or personal things or whether I just want to talk to him he’s always there for me,” said Ballard.

But things could have turned out much differently. Just a few years ago the family learned Walter needed a kidney transplant.

“When that happened I knew that I had to step up and I knew I was going to have to be somebody,” said Ballard.

To be able to afford to go to college Imani hit the books and the ball hard. Now thanks to her 3.78 GPA and her .430 batting average, Imani has a full ride scholarship to Howard University. And she has her brother to help see her through.

“He’s one of my role models because if he can make it through that then I should be able to make it through everything else,” said Ballard.