April 18, 2014
By Marya Fratoni
STORRS, Conn. - Through all the ups and downs the UConn softball team has experienced this season, there has been one player in particular consistently performing at a high level, regardless of the date, location or opponent. Sophomore second baseman Valerie Sadowl (Horsham, Pa.) has maintained a sterling .345 batting average so far this season, the best on the team and the 11th best in the American Athletic Conference. Sadowl has been honored twice on the American Honor Roll in weekly conference awards this season in recognition of her achievements on the diamond.
Sadowl’s success in the batter’s box this season has been a big improvement on a freshman season in which she finished with five runs, nine hits, seven runs batted in and one home run. Sadowl as far exceeded these numbers this season, having already scored 15 runs, racked up 32 hits and accounted for 15 RBI’s. Her six homers are the most by a Husky this season.
The sophomore attributes the turnaround to her hard work in the off-season, which helped her deconstruct the mechanics of her swing and provided more looks at a number of pitchers. “I played over the summer which gave me more live pitching before coming back for this season,” she explained. “I was also able to watch film of myself hitting over the summer and winter, which helps a lot.”
The Huskies enter today’s game against conference foe Temple with a 10-29 overall record and a 2-9 showing in league play. Valerie often finds it helpful to turn to her family members for support when it comes to staying focused and positive. Her three sisters, all of whom also played Division I softball, have had very similar experiences as Valerie in their careers and can offer up some good advice to their younger sister.
As for her teammates, Sadowl tries to keep things light and fun in order to help the squad keep morale high if ever frustrations arise. “I think it has put a lot of stress and pressure on all of us, which causes some conflicts at times. But I think for the most part we have done a good job trying to keep it together,” she said.
In Sadowl’s opinion, the team is dealing with a challenging schedule the best they possibly can. “When things are getting bad, I think we have to stay stronger as a team and not let the stress of the situation get to us.” With a handful of games left to play this season, the Huskies still have time to rally together, follow Sadowl’s great advice, and close out on a strong note.
The Huskies and Owls begin game one of today's doubleheader at 1:00 p.m. at the Burrill Family Field.