Source: Hometown Life
Author: Dan O'Meara
For the second year in a row, the Miss Softball Award for position players goes to a member of the Farmington Hills Mercy team.
Abby Krzywiecki received the honor at the end of an outstanding senior season in which she set a state record for home runs with 20.
Tom Calnen, president of the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association, made the announcement Saturday in the wake of Mercy’s 4-0 win over Macomb Dakota in the Division 1 state final.
Alex Sobczak, a former Mercy standout who now plays for the University of Michigan, won the award last year.
“To be able to do it back-to back-with her, that’s unreal,” Krzywiecki said. “She’s one of my good friends. It’s great to have the award, but I think the win is better, truthfully.”
Krzywiecki said her selection as Miss Softball shows all of her hard work and passion for the game paid off, but she always put the team first.
“I did this for my school,” she said. “I never did it for my individual stats. I never wanted to become Miss Softball. I wanted to win a state championship.
“There’s a difference between winning things for yourself and winning things for your friends and your teammates. I did this with 17 other people.
“I think my hard work was for them, and they motivated me. My coaches, my teachers and my classmates wanted me to succeed so badly that it was motivation for me.”
The first baseman and pitcher finished the season with a team-best .558 batting average and 94 RBIs. Her 82 hits included 18 doubles and two triples.
Krzywiecki, who will play college ball at NCAA Division I South Alabama, was 1-for-3 in the final game with a sixth-inning single.
“It was such a positive day,” she said. “I think we’ll spend the whole day celebrating. It wasn’t a one-person show at all. Everyone contributed; everyone did her part for the win.”
Krzywiecki was happy to see her teammates make big plays such as the solo homer by junior Nicole Belans for a 2-0 lead to start the seventh inning.
“When she hit it, I jumped over the (dugout) fence, because I knew it was out,” she said. “That was huge. We were stopping them, but they were getting on base. To have another run was reassuring.
“We had good defense, and they had good offense. But I think we had a lot more energy. I think our passion to win today was very strong. It was very obvious how we had each others backs.”
The Marlins also have a little ritual in which they sing the old spiritual song Kumbaya. It got started after a bad game last year, according to Krzywiecki.
“I said: ‘That’s OK. We’ll just sing Kumbaya,’” she said. “In the morning announcements, Sophie VanAcker and I play Kumbaya, and then we say, ‘Hey, we have a softball game tonight!’
“It’s catchy; it’s different. You know who it is when you hear us singing Kumbaya.”
Mercy’s journey to the championship game began a year ago when it lost to Caledonia in a state semifinal game, 5-2.
Krzywiecki was one of seven returning starters from that game. The others were VanAcker, Belans, Andrea Elmore, Cari Padula, Shannon Gibbons and Anna Dixon.
“I think it fueled the fire,” Krzywiecki said. “We were a confident team already. To add the loss last year, you kind of just want to do it for last year’s team.
“To show what Mercy High School can do as a program, I think is incredible. Last year helped our energy and motivation today.”
The Marlins had a little extra motivation in that they had been ranked second all season in the coaches poll behind No. 1 Dakota.
“It’s a great feeling to prove other people wrong,” Krzywiecki said. “To be the underdog and have the most energy and come out with so much fire and passion, we were unstoppable.
“Anything negative is fueling the fire. If you think we’re No. 2 and we’re going for No. 1, we’re going to try that much harder. I think that’s what we did, and we had a blast doing it.
“These are my best friends in the world. Although the season ended, it’s nice to know it ended on a good note and we did everything we wanted this year.
“We came out with the win today. That’s all that matters, right?”