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Louisville softball commit Sarah Gordon not defined by her size
Sarah Gordon is the Gatorade South Carolina Softball Player of the Year after setting a school record with 19 home runs to go along with a .598 batting average and 52 RBIs in her senior season with Lexington High School. (Courtesy: University of Louisville Athletics)

Louisville softball commit Sarah Gordon not defined by her size

LEXINGTON, S.C. (BVM) – Sarah Gordon has always been one of the smallest people on the field, yet it never deterred her from standing out even from day one.

The Lexington High School senior first began playing baseball with her twin brother as soon as the pair could start playing tee ball around age 5. Gordon switched over to softball soon after and quickly found a home behind the plate.

“I started catching when I was younger even though I was one of the smallest on the field and I fell in love with the position because it involved me in each play,” Gordon said.

Gordon’s love for the sport and her position was crystallized during the Wildcats’ state title run in 2019 during her freshman year. In the deciding third and final game of the 5A state championship series in Rock Hill, Gordon was 0-for-3 at the plate as Lexington trailed 5-3. But with runners on first and second base, Gordon was afforded another at-bat and took full advantage.

She hit a double over the head of the center fielder to tie the game and spark the Wildcats’ comeback as they secured their first state championship since 2001.

“It was super impactful to play with some amazing teammates such as Allie Light (San Diego State) and Hannah Kumiyama (South Carolina) who are now collegiate athletes,” Gordon said of her freshman season. “They pushed me each practice and game to get better on and off of the field which I remember to this day.”

The push from Light and Kumiyama helped springboard Gordon to an excellent prep softball career.

After a Covid-shortened sophomore season in 2020, Gordon led the Wildcats to a regional championship as a junior. The 2021 5A Region Player of the Year batted .495 with five home runs, 20 doubles, 34 runs scored and 14 stolen bases.

But Gordon learned something this past season during her senior campaign that will stick with her forever.

“This year, what I’ve learned that has set me apart from others is to not base my mood on my success level,” Gordon said. “Once I learned this, I played not only better, but if I did have a bad game, then I did not put myself down anymore. After a bad practice, I used to go home and dwell on that and not use it to better myself.”

The result of this epiphany was Gordon’s best season yet.

She batted .598 with a school-record 19 home runs, 52 RBIs, 63 runs scored and 28 stolen bases as the Wildcats (27-4) advanced to the Class 5A state championship series where they lost a hard-fought three-game series to Fort Mill. The elite catcher also threw out eight of 11 runners trying to steal and her 19 home runs edged out Kumiyama’s mark of 17 set in 2019 for the most in a season in Lexington history.

The special season earned Gordon Gatorade South Carolina Softball Player of the Year honors. She’s the first award winner chosen from Lexington and third from the Columbia area, joining Spring Valley’s Casey Rodriguez (2005) and Ridge View’s Kate Morrison (1999).

“I have to thank God and my parents because without them, this wouldn’t be possible,” Gordon said of the honor. “There are a lot of amazing, talented softball players in South Carolina so if I told you that I thought I would get this award, I would be lying.

“I’m glad I could get this award and show younger athletes that dedication on and off the field, no matter your size, can lead to success.”

Gordon received the ultimate sign of respect, being intentionally walked seven times in the postseason, and her rocket of an arm behind the plate made every opponent think twice about attempting to steal on her.

“She just sees the ball so well and there’s not much room for mistakes to her – she will make you pay dearly,” White Knoll head coach April Farr said in a Gatorade press release. “She’s a major team leader and she leads their defense behind the plate. She has an extremely strong arm and I know we could not steal on her.”

Gordon will now shift her attention to the next level after committing to play softball at the University of Louisville back in August of 2021. The No. 56-ranked prospect in the Extra Innings Class of 2022 Watchlist will live out her dream of playing college softball in a conference many people told her she would never get to.

“I grew up smaller than others and coaches told me I may want to look at smaller schools because of it,” Gordon said.

That’s what coaches used to say, but nowadays, coaches are much more complimentary of Gordon’s game, specifically Louisville head coach Holly Aprile.

“Pitching and catching are such an important part of our game and the Class of 2022 embodies that mindset,” Aprile said in a press release. “Cassie Grizzard and Alyssa Zabala will be key aspects of our future success on the mound as they both are both outstanding competitors with high expectations for themselves and our program.

“Sarah Gordon will be on the receiving end of many of those pitches from her future classmates and she will undoubtedly make our pitching staff better with her high energy and positive spirit behind the plate.”

The excitement surrounding Gordon’s arrival in Louisville is mutual as the future Cardinal says her next destination “feels like home.” From being told to look into smaller schools at a young age due to her size to headlining Louisville softball’s 2022 signing class, Gordon is poised to continue her success on the diamond in the ACC.

“The atmosphere up there each time I visited was so welcoming and the coaching staff feels like family; they care about us personally and our families as well,” Gordon said of Louisville. “They are amazing coaches who teach the game well and I can’t wait to learn from them for the next four years. I hope to be a leader for the team as I will be the catcher and I’m excited to get to work up there with them.”

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