The path to success isn’t always an easy or smooth one. And sometimes you have to make some tough choices along that path to achieve your goals.
That’s what happened with Sabrina Di Vito a few years ago. The decision definitely paid off last week when she signed her National Letter of Intent (NLI) to continue her softball career with Marian University in Wisconsin. But it didn’t come without some soul-searching.
Sabrina is a talented athlete who loves both fastpitch softball and basketball. And is very good at both.
While that is a plus in most cases – I personally believe in the multi-sports athlete – it can be a little tough to play basketball at a high level and still find all the time needed to develop as a pitcher.
I’ve worked with Sabrina since she was 10. Our typical pattern was she would do lessons in the spring, summer, and early fall. Then basketball would kick in and I wouldn’t see her again until the following spring.
She would pitch well during the season, but had pretty much hit a plateau in terms of greater development. For example, she could throw a fastball with good speed, along with a changeup, and drop, but it was tough to move beyond those three pitches because the main focus was making sure she was ready to perform that weekend.
Then one day at the end of the summer before her freshman year Sabrina and her mom/catching partner Brandy told me that they had come to a conclusion: as much as Sabrina loved basketball and would continue to play, they had decided to prioritize softball which meant I would be seeing her throughout the winter as well.
Needless to say I was delighted, because I felt like we’d finally have the chance to find out just how good Sabrina could be. I knew she’d set aside time not just for the lessons but for the homework that would come with it. That’s just who she is.
Well, it didn’t take long for that decision to start paying off. Sabrina started gaining more speed, and added a curve and rise to her arsenal of pitches.
And suddenly she started turning into a pitcher who could dominate hitters on a regular basis. In fact, in 2022 she set the single-season record for most wins by a softball pitcher at her high school – a school that has been around for more than 50 years!
She did very well in travel ball this summer too as part of a pitching troika that helped her Illinois Sluggers-Harms team win a lot of ballgames. Then this fall when two of three legs of that pitching stool were injured for a bit, she stepped up again as the workhorse, throwing game after game and getting stronger as she went.
All of which contributed to a lot of fun culminating in her signing her NLI.
The choice of school, by the way, was driven by the best reasoning too. Sabrina wanted to play college softball, but when she’s done playing she wants to be a nurse.
Those two goals are often mutually exclusive, unfortunately, due to the workload of a nursing program and the demands of college softball. But Marian is known for its willingness to work around the nursing schedule, enabling deserving players like Sabrina to continue to play as they pursue their career goals.
One other fun fact about Sabrina is how unshakably even-keeled she is – an awesome trait for a pitcher. It’s not just how when I give her a piece of instruction she just smiles, says ok, and does it.
Sometimes, just to see if I can get a rise out of her, I will say something that is, shall we say, more like what an “old school” type of coach might say.
Doesn’t bother her in the least. She gets the best of me on that every time by just saying “ok” or “uh-huh” and going on about her business.
In fact I’m told she finds it funny so at least I’m keeping her amused! So it’s a good thing she’s very self-motivated to be the best she can be.
In any case, congratulations Sabrina on securing your ticket to the next level. I’m glad when you reached the fork in the road you chose the one that led to softball.
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