By Morgan Widdifield
(December 26, 2014) — Stone Bridge High School junior Olivia Sappington has made an early verbal commitment to continue her softball career at the University of Connecticut beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year.
“It feels like some weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can finally breathe a sigh of relief,” the 5-foot-3 Sappington said. “I [still]have to continue to keep my academics up as well as continue to train to get better, faster and stronger every day.”
Sappington helped the Bulldogs to two successful playoff runs, posting 28-2 and 15-8 records her freshman and sophomore years, respectively. In 2013, the Bulldogs made it to the VHSL AAA state championship, falling short 10-9 against Great Bridge High School after defeating defending champions Cosby High School 9-1. In her sophomore year, the Bulldogs made it to the VHSL 5A North region semifinals, losing 13-0 to Patrick Henry High School.
“[We] are going to put together a strong team this spring. We only lost three seniors last year, so most of our varsity team is returning along with some talented freshman coming up,” said Sappington who plays for the New Jersey Intensity club team. “It’s going to be a great year as we work to win the state championship. I’m so excited!”
The Division I University of Connecticut Huskies posted a 13-38 record in the spring of 2014. The Huskies had strong losing performances against No. 13 Baylor and University of Wisconsin-Green Bay along with a win against Bryant University — all schools which made the NCAA tournament as Baylor made it to the Final Four.
“I’m looking to add some power to the lineup, even though I am 5-foot-3, I’m a power-hitting lefty,” said Sappington who will make the nearly 400-mile trip to Storrs, Conn. in the summer of 2016. “When I stepped onto campus, I immediately fell in love and knew that UConn was the right fit for me. Plus, the coaching staff is brand new, and they’re all so fired up about building the program and taking it to the next level. Also, it has always been a dream of mine to play in the Women’s College World Series, [UConn gives me] the opportunity to achieve it.”
Sappington started softball when she was six years old, in T-ball, then moved on to softball when she was eight. After a torn ACL in the summer of 2013, she felt defeated, but used it as an opportunity to make her mentally and physically stronger as a player and person.
“I believe I can be an impact player as well as a leader on and off the field [for UConn],” said Sappington who will either play outfield or first base for the Huskies.
Morgan Widdifield is a junior at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.