Softball: Sandburg’s Sarah Herold stands as big-time pitcher
By Tony Baranek email@example.com April 3, 2014 9:02PM
Sarah Herold, of Sandburg | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 5, 2014 8:58AM
Sandburg pitcher Sarah Herold is cool under pressure.
That never was more evident in the 2013 Class 4A sectional finals against Marist, when with the bases loaded and one out, she recorded a strikeout and a popout to help the Eagles claim a one-run victory.
In bad times, she doesn’t pout.
“When I give up a home run I don’t say, ‘Oh, my gosh, I stink at softball.’ No I look at it like, ‘I missed that pitch. Now I know what to throw to her next time,’ ” the senior said.
In good times, she’s looking for more.
“When we win a game, well, of course, I’m happy, but I’m not going to be like, ‘Oh, my team is so perfect. We don’t need to work on anything.’ No. There is always something you need to work on. Sorry. If people don’t like it when I say that, I’m just being honest.”
Sandburg coach Jim Fabianski wouldn’t have her any other way.
“She’s quite talented, but it’s her attitude that impresses me the most,” Fabianski said of Herold, who has the Eagles at 4-1 this season.
In 2013 she posted 13 victories, while recording 160 strikeouts and posting a 2.53 ERA. Her strength is her guile, an uncanny ability to make her pitches very tricky to track.
“When I was (little) I was expecting to grow to be 6 feet tall one day,” said Herold, who’s 5-foot-2. “That obviously didn’t happen. So because I wasn’t the tall girl who was jacked, like (predecessor) Brittany Gardner, I realized that I needed to be more of a breaking-ball pitcher.”
In the season opener at the Rosemont Dome, Herold had McHenry’s hitters tied in knots, striking out eight, allowing just three hits and no walks in five innings. She also was 3-for-4 at the plate.
It was the type of outing Fabianski expects will keep Sandburg among the top teams in the area in 2014.
“Sarah brings an off-the-wall sense of humor, determination and passion for the game,” Fabianski said. “She understand what it means to be a part of something bigger than herself, and genuinely enjoys being around the other girls.
“She has taken our youngest player, Bri Soltis, more or less under her wing to help make the adjustment to the varsity, just like the girls did for her when she was a sophomore.”
Herold credits the development of her screwball to her father, Wayne. Her biggest pitching influence, however, is her pitching coach, Tammy Lagesse.
“She was just never easy on me, because she knew what I could do and how I could pitch,” Herold said. “Even in practice, if I don’t throw a riseball how she wants it she’ll make me throw it again.
“I guess it’s just from her pushing me like that made me realize that paying attention to detail matters when you’re not a throw-it-past-the-batter kind of pitcher.”
Herold started playing softball when she was 5, but in eighth grade she was juggling several different sports, including being an up and coming gymnast at Gymkinetics.
“By then I had to decide between gymnastics or softball,” she said. “It was hard to choose because I loved gymnastics. I loved getting all dolled up and everything. Then one day I was asked to do a flip-flop or something on the beam, and I was like, ‘Wait a second. I don’t want to get hurt for softball.’
“That’s when I knew that softball was more important.”