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05/11/2022 12:00 AM

Pierce Having a Breakout Season as a Senior

Senior catcher Sammy Pierce is hitting at a .575 clip for the Valley Regional softball team this season. Photo courtesy of Sammy Pierce

Sammy Pierce is proving an integral player for the Valley Regional softball team this season. As she enters the home stretch of her senior year, Sammy is looking to lead the Warriors to a strong finish to the 2022 campaign.

Sammy suits up as a catcher for the Valley softball squad and has a batting average of .575 this spring. The Warriors currently have a record of 5-9, but Sammy believes that they can things around by the time the tournaments arrive, and is enjoying her last season as a member of the program.

“I don’t have a lot of expectations for this year, but so far, we are doing great and bonding a lot as a team,” says Sammy. “Win or lose, I’m enjoying my final year with the team, and I don’t want to see it end any time soon.”

Sammy started playing softball when she was seven years old. She even tried out baseball for a year when she was six.

“I have been playing softball for as long as I can remember. My dad thought it would be a good thing for me to get into, and it’s stuck with me ever since,” Sammy says. “I really enjoy playing and being out on the field with my teammates.”

Sammy’s favorite aspect of softball are the relationships that she’s built with her teammates. Sammy considers many of those teammates her best friends, and she appreciates how she’s gotten to know all of them through the sport.

“I love my teammates. On every softball team that I’ve been on, it’s created a family for me,” said Sammy. “All of these girls are like my sisters, and I’m going to miss them a lot next year.”

Sammy recently hit the first home run of her career with the Valley softball team. The senior went yard for the Warriors when they faced Haddam-Killingworth last week.

“It was my first one I’ve hit during high school ball, and it’s a moment I will never forget,” Sammy says. “I’ve worked hard at improving my game, especially my hitting. I bat with a batting coach every so often and have people on my team help me with specific drills for my catching. Last practice, I had my pitcher [junior] Anna Benson bounce tennis balls while I tried to block them without flinching or looking away from the ball.”

Head Coach Allyson Pitney describes Sammy as a quiet leader for her team and a consistent bat in Valley’s lineup. Pitney has known Sammy for several years, and it means a lot to her to see the senior flourishing with the Warriors this season.

“I love that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Sammy grow up—from teaching her as a student in elementary school to coaching her as a high school varsity athlete and now watching her finish her senior year,” Pitney says. “I’m proud to see Sammy working hard at what she loves and seeing that hard work pay off. Sammy is consistently calm, even during high-tension situations. She maintains her competitive focus, but doesn’t let team struggles or adversity affect her friendly demeanor.”

Coach Pitney adds that Sammy is a defensive anchor for Valley behind the plate. Sammy does a great job of blocking balls in the dirt, and Pitney feels that it’s a luxury to have her both at the catcher’s position and on the team in general.

“Sammy is essentially a wall behind the plate. Very few balls get by, and she’s great at calling pitches. She observes and remembers batter’s tendencies and weaknesses and is sure to adjust as needed,” says Pitney. “At bat, Sammy is a reliable offensive force. She’s disciplined in pitch choice and attacks anything in the strike zone. She’s an aggressive base runner and an offensive leader on our team.”

While softball is the only sport that Sammy plays at Valley, she also enjoys playing basketball, hiking, and long boarding in her free time. One of Sammy’s favorite places to hike is Chatfield Hollow in Killingworth.

“I really enjoy hiking and long boarding. I used to play basketball during elementary and middle school, but now I just play for fun,” Sammy says. “Softball is my passion and will always be my No. 1.”

Sammy plans to either attend a community college or take a gap year after she graduates from Valley Regional. One of Sammy’s future aspirations is to become a flight attendant.

“I will not be playing softball after this summer season with my travel team, but softball will always have a special place in my heart,” says Sammy. “I’ve wanted to travel my whole life and haven’t had much of an opportunity to. Attending flight school and becoming a flight attendant will allow me to fulfill that dream.”