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Louisville’s Sarah Gordon ‘grateful’ to be ACC’s top freshman
Sarah Gordon was named Louisville's first-ever ACC Freshman of the Year after batting .400 with six home runs, six doubles and a .747 slugging percentage against conference opponents. (Photo: Louisville Athletics)

Louisville’s Sarah Gordon ‘grateful’ to be ACC’s top freshman

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville Cardinals freshman Sarah Gordon was putting the final touches on her senior high school softball season around this time last year. The Lexington, South Carolina native hit a school-record 19 home runs and led her squad to the 2022 Class 5A state championship series. 

Gordon was awarded Gatorade South Carolina Softball Player of the Year honors for her senior campaign – the first-ever winner from Lexington High School – and a year later, she’s made even more history. 

After batting .400 with six home runs, six doubles and a .747 slugging percentage against conference opponents, Gordon was named Louisville’s first-ever ACC Freshman of the Year. The Cardinals’ starting catcher helped the program match its most wins (16) in ACC play since joining the league in 2015 with her 23 runs scored and 27 RBIs. 

“It’s so amazing to get named Louisville’s first ACC Freshman of the Year because every freshman hopes to go in and make an immediate impact on the program they are asked to play for,” Gordon said. “I’m so grateful to be given the chance to play for Louisville this year and the coaches and my teammates helped me get to where I am today with all the time they have put in to make me the best.”

For the season, Gordon has batted an impressive .385 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs while going a perfect 8-for-8 on stolen base attempts. 

Gordon was also recently named to the TUCCI/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) National Freshman of the Year Top 25 List, becoming just the third player in program history to do so. But part of what makes Gordon’s accomplishments as a freshman so impressive is the fact that, according to her, there were coaches who never thought she could produce at an ACC program like Louisville.

Listed at just 5-foot-6, Gordon plays much bigger than her size suggests.

“I grew up smaller than others and coaches told me I may want to look at smaller schools because of it,” Gordon said in June 2022.

Luckily for Louisville, Gordon paid no mind to the naysayers and committed to the Cardinals as the No. 56-ranked prospect in the Class of 2022. The freshman backstop has been a catalyst for the program’s best season since 2019, but her parents help keep her grounded on a daily basis.

“I’ve always had to prove myself so going into this year, it was no different,” Gordon said. “My parents are my rock when it comes to confidence and believe that I can do anything I put my mind to. So having them tell me that each day pushed me to where I am.

“I made goals for this year and I achieved them and more which is all I could ask for.”

Of course, Gordon isn’t the only reason Louisville stands at No. 24 in the D1Softball.com poll for the second consecutive week. She’s one of a program-best six Cardinals to appear on the all-conference teams, joining Taylor Roby, Korbe Otis (both first-team All-ACC), Daisy Hess (second-team All-ACC), Easton Lotus and Alyssa Zabala (both third-team All-ACC).

It’s a team-first mentality that has helped lead to plenty of individual accolades.

“This group emphasizes others’ success on the team and is not solely focused on their individual success,” Gordon said. “We work and compete as a team and also have fun doing it which allows us to be more loose on the field and trust each person.”

Aside from her parents and teammates, there’s another key factor – perhaps the most important – to Gordon’s success on the softball diamond: faith.

“I focus on my faith in this sport since it’s a game of failure; having that to fall back on helped me a ton,” Gordon said. “The saying, audience of one, grounds me to the moment I am in and reminds me that God is my priority and I do not have to prove myself to anyone.”

That perspective has helped Gordon make an immediate impact at Louisville and if this season is any indication, it’s just the beginning for the ACC’s top freshman and a surging Cardinals program.

Louisville (35-17) earned a No. 4 seed in the ACC Tournament but fell in the opening round to fifth-seeded Virginia Tech (36-17). The 2023 NCAA softball bracket field of 64 will be revealed at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 14. 

“The team’s focus moving forward is to control what we can control and take every game one pitch at a time,” Gordon said. “We cannot control a lot, but what we can control is our effort levels and energy going into each game which will help us compete with anyone.”