Spectacular catch ends Connellsville softball season on high note

| Saturday, July 12, 2014, 3:53 p.m.

Playing right field for the Connellsville Area Lady Falcons softball team on Senior Night, Sadie Wombacker picked the perfect stage to excite the crowd. Even though her Falcons would be denied a playoff berth, Wombacker, in her first season with the squad, picked the right moment to display her defensive skills.

Putting it simply, “Sadie made a spectacular catch,” first-year Falcons coach Vaughn Hempfield said. “And our fans responded as if that catch sent us to the playoffs.”

In a set of somewhat unusual circumstances regarding seniors on the team for the first time, at the urging of her friends and selection of Hempfield as the new head coach, Wombacker opted to end her scholastic career as a member of the team.

“I played rec softball and since my friends were on the high school team I was interested in how they did, so I decided to play,” Wombacker said, adding she realized other players with more varsity experience were ahead of her on the depth chart. Even though I played mostly junior varsity softball, I did play right field for the varsity. I may not have started, but I had a great season being with my friends and supporting the team. I wanted to support our new coach, and this turned out to be a good experience. I am glad I played, and the roar of the crowd after outstanding catch on Senior Night made my season worthwhile.”

Hempfield, a graduate of Swissvale High School (now part of the Woodland Hills School District) who spent three seasons in the Kansas City Royals organization, said Wombacker came to the field every day ready to work.

“Coming out as a senior, Sadie knew there were players ahead of her, and she put in her time on practice field,” Hempfield said. “As a first-year senior, she did not get much varsity playing time, but she understood her role. In practice, she made the routine plays, and that earned her playing time. She practices hard and did what we asked her to do. She was always willing to work put forth a good effort all season. She wanted to learn and made definite progress throughout the season, and she earned her varsity letter.”

While her senior year represented her first on the varsity softball team, Wombacker spent five years as a member of the band. However, her first year was as an eighth-grader at Albert Gallatin High School, with her final four years with the Falcons marching band.

Strong leadership qualities enabled her to take on the role as section leader of the trumpets, her strong leadership qualities, where she assisted new band members as they learned and improved both their music and drills skills. As a member of the Indoor Drum Line that competed against local bands, she performed on the cymbals.

“Each of my four years (with Connellsville's band) turned out to be a great experience,” Wombacker said. “Each year presented new musical challenges, and working with other band members helped create long-lasting friendships. From marching on the field to attending competitions, we learned the importance of working together to achieve common goals.”

Wombacker added that her four-year band experience concluded with a trip to Walt Disney World in April, making exciting memories that she will always remember.

With high school graduation marking the end of one memorable era and the beginning of another, Wombacker, whose academic record earned her Highest Honors status, is planning to attend Penn State Behrend to study architectural engineering.

“I'm hoping for a career designing different buildings or restaurants,” she said. “Every time I go into different building or my favorite or new restaurants, I'm always thinking about how I could make positive changes. Science and math were my favorite subjects, and I'm planning on using that background to lead to a career.”

Les Harvath is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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