When Sarah Prezioso was 12 years old, she didn’t want to play softball.
Her father tried to convince her to join a softball team, but she was reluctant. She didn’t want to stop playing with her little league baseball team.
“I was playing with all boys,” the senior shortstop said. “I was the only girl on an all-boys little league team. My dad was my coach.”
Prezioso eventually realized that she had outgrown little league, and picked up a softball for the first time in her life. Now, a decade later, her teammates at Temple say they are glad she did.
“I think Sarah has put the program in a different league than it would have been without her,” junior Julia Kastner said. “She’s an athlete. She could have excelled in any sport she picked. When she came to Temple, we all got really lucky.”
Prezioso has been one of the team’s most consistent performers during her four-year career with the Owls. She is in three-way ties for the single-season records for games played and home runs, and holds the single-season records for runs scored and stolen bases. She also holds the career records for hits, home runs and total bases. Prezioso has 51 career steals, which ties her with the career record. She needs to score seven more runs to take over the career record for runs scored.
“Phenomenal is probably one word I would use for her,” coach Joe DiPietro said. “She can do it all. She’s the fastest runner on our team. She’s a leader. She has all the things you would look for in a player. Like they say, those five-tool players. I’ve been doing this a long time. She is without question the most athletic player I’ve ever coached.”
Prezioso is a team leader, but she stayed in the background during her freshman campaign in 2011.
“I think it was more of a learning experience for me, because college is obviously completely different than high school and summer ball,” Prezioso said. “I just wanted to see what college softball was all about.”
“She was very quiet, just went about her business,” DiPietro said. “As she got more accustomed to the college game, she’s taken on the leadership role and she’s been awesome.”
DiPietro and Kastner both said that Prezioso is not a leader who feels compelled to talk constantly to get a point across.
“As a leader, she definitely leads by example more than [she] voices it,” Kastner said. “And I think everybody responds to that way better.”
But if the occasion demands something vocal, Prezioso can step up in that regard as well.
“She does have moments where she’s like, ‘No, that’s enough of this, I’ve got to say something,’” DiPietro said. “And she will. There have been times where I’ve gone out to say something and she beats me to it.”
Prezioso’s athletic skills have sometimes caused the team to take her talent for granted, DiPietro said. He recalled an instance last season, when Prezioso made two spectacular plays against Monmouth. Watching her, DiPietro realized that he just assumes Prezioso will make great plays.
“She’s made so many outstanding plays, that for us it becomes almost commonplace,” DiPietro said.
After this season, the multi-faceted Prezioso is hoping to join the National Pro Fastpitch league. Her teammates say they will miss her leadership, her great plays – and her sense of humor.
“She’s hilarious,” Kastner said. “If someone’s having a bad mood, she can easily come over to you and kind of say something silly, nothing about softball, but just kind of make your day better. Everyone loves her on our team.”
Prezioso has a life outside of softball, but she described it as “pretty boring.”
“I watch a lot of Netflix,” Prezioso said. “I just try and really stay relaxed, because when I play softball, I’m always busy. On the weekend I usually just hang out with people on our team.”
Her teammates have little objections to hanging out with Prezioso.
“Her teammates think she’s awesome,” DiPietro said. “She treats them all like they’re her sisters. Fantastic person, great player. She’s got the whole package.”
Don McDermott can be reached at email@example.com.