‘A silent thunder’
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At age 11, she approached her head coach at the time, asking if she could be put in to pitch. “From that day on,” said Tom, “[she’s been] pitching every day, striking people out right and left. It was natural for her.”
She joined her first travel team at age 14, when she landed a spot on the Long Island Anthem, a team based in the Hamptons. A year later, she joined the East Meadow Fillies travel team as well as the Frozen Ropes Long Island 18U team, a “college showcase” travel team that plays during the summer up and down the East Coast.
“She’s like a silent thunder,” said Frozen Ropes coach Rachel Barry. “She’s quiet, but she’s an explosive player. She doesn’t look to take credit for anything.
“She’s not set back,” Barry, 22, who played collegiate softball at Cortland University, added of Sandra’s disability. “She takes the same classes [as other kids], she walks the same hallways, she steps on the same field and she needs to accomplish the same things.”
And she has accomplished a lot. Four years ago, playing for the East Meadow Baseball Softball association, she tossed a no-hitter in a playoff game. And as a freshman on the East Meadow High junior varsity team, she finished the season 11-0, under the tutelage of coach Stuart Fritz.
“She’s a very hardworking young lady,” said Fritz. “She gets treated like everybody else. She’s very likable. She’s a good kid, a good person and a good teammate.”
And she can hit, too. Playing on the varsity team as a sophomore last season, Sandra had her first game-winning hit in a matchup against Oceanside High School. With two outs and two runners on base in a tie game, Fritz — who now coaches the varsity — gave her the signal to fake a bunt, pull the bat back and slap at the ball. She hit a walk-off single. “I was so happy, I didn’t realize I would get that hit,” she said.
She recently began her junior season by pitching a one-hit shutout in a scrimmage against Island Trees High School. Looking to pitch beyond her high school years, she has also been in touch with coaches at several colleges, including Adelphi, Hofstra, St. John’s and St. Joseph’s.