After almost completely shying away from the game, Softball Factory alum Alyssa Sofinowski has verbally committed to Tiffin University and credits Softball Factory as a reason for rediscovering her passion for the sport that she has loved since the age of six.
“I have always loved softball,” Sofinowski recalls. “When I was six years old I was playing lacrosse, and knew it was not for me, so, my dad took me to a little league field and we started to throw and hit the ball for the first time. It was fun. I knew it was for me.”
Her father, Bryon Sofinowski, shares the memory.
“I’ll never forget when Alyssa came to me and said ‘Dad, I don’t think lacrosse if for me,’ he shares. “I asked her if she wanted to try something else and she said, ‘how about softball?’ So, we went to K-Mart and bought a glove and bat and I’ll never forget how she immediately hit and caught the ball. From that point on, she was hooked”.
From that early age, the catcher and second baseman says she loved the fun that came with running and diving in the dirt and the cheers that could get a rally started. In middle school, however, she found herself pushing softball away.
“When I was in the 7th grade I wasn’t sure if softball was for me anymore,” Sofinowski admits. “I had just gotten over an MCL injury and was afraid I’d never recover properly. I was worried that I’d not play to my potential, which led to thoughts of losing my love for the game.”
In December of 2016, Sofinowski – who had attended two Under Armour Softball Factory College PREP events, as well as two different training events beginning in the summer of 2015– reluctantly decided to give the Softball Factory Christmas Camp & Tournament in December of 2016 a try. Her hesitation with pursuing a softball career at the next level suddenly disappeared.
“After a few years Alyssa became disenchanted with softball and was thinking about not playing ball in college. She was not excited about attending the Florida Christmas camp,” her dad shares. “But, when I picked her up from the airport something was different about her perception of the game. She talked for the entire two-hour ride home about the games, coaches and girls she had played with in Florida. The Softball Factory Christmas session absolutely redirected Alyssa’s mission about her future in softball and college.”
“The Christmas event in 2016 made me realize my love for the sport,” Sofinowski adds. “I realized that softball was what I loved to do. Playing in the Christmas event, meeting girls from other states, playing in the games, and creating a small family in such a short amount of time made me love softball again. All the coaches were great in working with the girls to learn skills and doing fun drills together.”
In fact, the coaches are what the Stevensville, Md. native answered when asked what she enjoys most about her experiences with Softball Factory, saying that they motivated her and taught her new skills – while enhancing skills she had developed previously.
Softball Factory’s Senior Director, Lea Ann Jarvis and Player Development Coordinator, Julia Rice, are two staff members that both Alyssa and Bryon credit with helping her to become the player she is today.
“I cannot thank Coach Jarvis and Julia enough for their support and coaching of Alyssa throughout this entire process.” Bryon said. “She immediately loved Coach Jarvis and Rice and worked extremely hard to impress them with her commitment and skills.”
Now that the softball spark is back, the Tiffin commit, now a sophomore second baseman and catcher for Kent Island High School, has been tearing it up for her team. Her combined batting average in her first two seasons is an impressive .378, with and on-base percentage of .495 and slugging percentage of .528. She has tallied a home run, a triple and seven doubles, along with recording 42 putouts and turning two double plays.
Her hard work has certainly caught the attention of both Jarvis and Rice and they have enjoyed watching her journey to regaining her confidence and committing to playing at the collegiate level.
“She has worked extremely hard since day one,” Rice shares. “I have gotten to meet her and Bryon many times, and her work ethic continues to improve. She has shown true dedication and persistence with this sport. Her softball journey hasn’t been the easiest for her – and she has had to overcome some different struggles – but all those struggles have made her the player that she is today.”
“I spent some time being her catching coach and watched her come into her own as a catcher,” Jarvis adds. “I have also had the pleasure working with her at two player development events and saw her continue to work hard and get better every time she was at an event. I am very much looking forward to watching her play at Tiffin University.”
Perhaps no one, however, is prouder of Sofinowski than her father.
“It is incredible feeling for a parent to see how all those long hours in the dirt and spent hitting have brought her to this point.” he says with great admiration of his daughter. “I’m so very proud of my girl!”