Emily Sadlovsky has found her power swing.
The Pierz senior blasted two home runs last week in wins against Little Falls and Zimmerman.
Her solo home run against Zimmerman came in the seventh inning of Game One during a May 4 Granite Ridge Conference doubleheader. There were two outs in the tie game before Sadlovsky’s hit won it for Pierz. She followed her game-winning homer to pitch Game Two and tallied four strikeouts in 5.1 innings.
In a 13-2 win against Little Falls Friday, May 7, Sadlovsky finished 2-2 with a two-run home run and a walk.
“I’ve kind of adjusted my swing a little bit,” Sadlovsky said. “I think the coaches helped me make some adjustments with my stride foot and the length of time my hands take to get to the ball.”
That power is something head coach Matt Poepping knew she had in her.
“She’s had a few times where the bat has connected it in the right spot and she’s had some big homers for us,” Poepping said. “She’s gotten her offense started and she’s started to figure it out at the plate.”
Sadlovsky has been going into the cage many mornings to work on timing with her swing. Poepping mentioned that when she was younger Sadlovsky would have a designated player hit for her in the lineup. Not anymore.
“She’s always been one of our better pitchers,” he said. “She’s made some adjustments with her hands at the plate and she’s started to figure it out which is big for her. She doesn’t hit in the top of the lineup, so to have that power in the bottom of the lineup adds to our versatility in the lineup.”
Even with the swing improvements, she is most comfortable in the pitching circle and tallied a win against Foley Thursday, May 6, with four strikeouts to go along with her four-strikeout game against Zimmerman.
“It’s taken a lot of time and reps,” Sadlovsky said of her pitching. “I’ve really tried to develop a change-up and getting hitters off balance. I mainly just throw a fastball and a change-up.”
Poepping said her change-up is her best pitch.
“She can take 10 to 15 MPH off of her change-up from her fastball,” he said. “That’s a big difference that a lot of hitters can’t adjust to. If she had her change-up working and is throwing it for strikes she can be tough. And we are pretty good behind her defensively.”
Sadlovsky is one of two girls who enter the pitching circle for the Pioneers. Tori Wagner will start the games Sadlovsky doesn’t and the two have formed quite the one-two punch during doubleheaders.
“I think we have a good relationship and it’s nice that we have more than one pitcher,” Sadlovsky said. “Most teams don’t even have one that can throw hard or anything. So we have two and it definitely relieves a lot of stress on myself and the whole team.”
When she’s not in the circle, Sadlovsky has played in centerfield this year which is a new position for her.
“She’s done a good job there for someone who has never played the position before,” Poepping said.
Pierz holds a 14-1 record and a 12-1 conference record.
After a 21-0 win against Milaca Tuesday, May 11, the Pioneers clinched a share of the Granite Ridge Conference title for the first time since 1991.
“It’s cool the kind of year we are having,” Sadlovsky said. “Pierz softball has definitely grown the past couple of years which is cool to see. I think we put a lot of time in the offseason and played a lot of travel ball. We feel we have a chance every game when we go out.”
This year Sadlovsky played four sports. Along with her normal volleyball, basketball and softball, she played tennis in the early fall since volleyball got started late.
Being a four-sport athlete has really helped Sadlovsky become a good leader according to Poepping.
“She’s been there and been in big spots going back to when she was a sophomore,” Poepping said. “She was our main pitcher when we were playing deep into sections two years ago. She has that experience and can lead by example and take younger girls under her wing.”
Poepping has coached Sadlovsky in both softball and basketball and has watched her grow into the athlete she’s become.
“She’ll do anything you ask,” Poepping said. “She’s a real coachable kid. She’ll take criticism well and make adjustments at the plate. That’s why she has changed her way at the plate. She does more than just hit for power. She bunts. She runs the bases well. So yes, she’s a big asset to the team.”
Sadlovsky knows Poepping always has her back.
“He’s a good guy to be around and always gives you confidence,” she said. “He gives pointers when you need them. I think we are really lucky to have him as a coach.”
Sadlovsky plans to attend the University of Minnesota-Duluth next fall. She also earned Pierz’s Female Athlete of the Year honors voted on by her peers and coaches.
“I was very humbled,” Sadlovsky said. “It was very cool. I wasn’t really expecting it. We have a lot of good athletes.”
Other notable performances:
Softball: Gweneviere Rosecrans, Crosby-Ironton, tallied six RBIs.
Kelsi Martini, Pequot Lakes, hit a double and home run.
Ella Janzen, Aitkin, went 4-7 with six runs and three RBIs in two games against Crosby-Ironton.
Brooklyn Rudrud, Pillager, tallied four hits including a home run in two games against Ottertail Central.
Ramsey Tulenchik, Pine River-Backus, tallied four hits total in two games against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.
Madison Schmitz, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale, tallied four hits including a home run and a double in a game against Sebeka.
Sam Berent, Pillager, went 4-4 with three RBIs against LPGE.
Golf: Emily Virnig, Pierz, won at Pierz Golf Course with a 43
Highlights: She went 2-2 with a home run against Little Falls and ripped a home run to win against Zimmerman.