Stepping up to the plate

Mercy senior Abby Krzywiecki prepares for her next four years as a Division I college softball player.

Playing for Mercy has been a high school experience that Krzywiecki will never forget. In anticipation of her last year of playing high school softball, Krzywiecki reflects on the upcoming season. “I think we will be hard to beat this upcoming season,” said Krzywiecki. “We have a lot of talent and I think we have great potential.” (Photo courtesy of Abby Krzywiecki)

“Sports change lives.” So says senior Abby Krzywiecki, an avid softball player since age 9. With a lifetime of practice under her belt, Krzywiecki is excited to finally fulfill her life-long dream — to play college softball.

“I have always wanted to play in college because for many girls’ sports, that is the end of the line,” said Krzywiecki. “College sports can help [you] meet new people and help manage your time as a student athlete. I just do not think I can imagine not playing softball and it will be uncomfortable when I am done with it.”

Lucky for her, Krzywiecki has four more years of softball to play, all of which will be at the top 25, Division I college The University of South Alabama.

“I chose South Alabama because the coaches and players are extremely welcoming,” she said. “I immediately feel wanted and at home when I go down there.”

Knowing her college choice was an extremely important decision for her future, Krzywiecki began her search early.

“[My recruiting process] started earlier than many. My first visit to South [Alabama] was my eighth grade summer, so I was worried about it sooner than most,” said Krzywiecki. “A lot of girls have a very stressful junior year because of ACT and choosing a college and my most strenuous year was sophomore year. I had a lot of big decisions to make that year and I think I handled it very well. I could not be happier with my decision.”

Now that she is knee-deep in her senior year, Krzywiecki’s time at South Alabama is quickly approaching.

“I am very excited to live on my own so far away from home,” said Krzywiecki. “I think I will enjoy being in a new state with a whole new set of people. I am really comfortable with change and I am so excited for my future there. I’m not saying I won’t miss my family, but I think I am ready to handle the responsibilities on my own and start to shape my life.”

Between practice time, games, and all the hours one puts in to improve his or her own skills, sports can consume one’s life very quickly. Krzywiecki has experienced this since day one. Her days have been spent on the softball diamond and in batting cages. Balancing softball with the rest of her life has not been the easiest thing to do, but Krzywiecki emphasizes that it was all worth it.

“My life is based around my softball schedule,” said Krzywiecki. “I can say that it has been nothing but a life-changing experience. I don’t really know who I would be without all these things I’ve learned from the sport and without the friends I’ve made through it.”

Soon Krzywiecki will be making her commitment to South Alabama official. Although she went on her official visit to the school a few weeks ago and has verbally committed to the team, Krzywiecki has yet to sign her National Letter of Intent, which officially binds her to the team. On Dec. 10, Krzywiecki, along with other Mercy girls who are future-college athletes, will be featured at a signing event in the gym.

“Anyone contemplating whether or not to play a sport should definitely take on the task,” said Kzywiecki. “It will benefit you in ways you cannot imagine.”