Athlete of the Week: Kendra DeArk

by Abby Ferguson

Ever since the beginning of the season, junior Kendra DeArk has shown her ability on the softball diamond. Head Coach Michelle Manning has already noticed the impact DeArk is having this season.

“Kendra is having a great season so far and is getting stronger each game. She is a very tough competitor and puts in the time, work and effort to be very successful,” Manning said.

DeArk said she wants to continually improve in every aspect of the game, especially pitching.

Junior Kendra DeArk was named HCAC Pitcher of the Week earlier this season, which is just one of her many contributions to the softball team.

“I was named (the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) Pitcher of the Week after our first week of the season, but I am still working through some things, focusing on getting better every day. As a pitcher, there is always something to improve on, whether it is spins or movement, locations or change of speed,” DeArk said.

Manning also expects DeArk to keep improving through the rest of the season. Manning is confident that DeArk is not only having an impact on the softball team but on the softball program, as well.

“I expect her to keep improving and competing. She is very tough and has the will to win. She demonstrates it every day in practice and in games,” Manning said. “Kendra does so much for our program; she leads by example and consistently gets the job done day in and day out. She is self-motivated and she has shown that with hard work (and talent) … she can have a very positive impact in a program.”

DeArk not only wants to see herself improve, but she also wants the team to meet the goals they have set, one of which is to compete in the NCAA tournament.

“Some of our goals to help us get there (are to) win the conference tourney, win (the) regular season conference (title), win all games against in-region opponents and win 30-plus games this season,” DeArk said.

DeArk is confident that the softball team has many strong components. She knows that when those parts are all working together they make for a strong team.

“Probably the best thing about our team is that every player has a role and everybody contributes when called upon. When we can put all of the pieces together, it is going to be a great season,” DeArk said.

DeArk said she isn’t overly concerned by her individual stats but by how she can contribute to helping her team win.

“My focus is to do my job and put my team in a position to win every game. I try to lead by example and show how hard work pays off,” DeArk said.

The team just returned from what DeArk called a “very successful spring break trip,” winning four out of six games and capturing the championship in the bronze division of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Leadoff Classic in Panama City, Fla. They also won five out of six games in the Rebel Springs Classic in Kissimmee, Fla.

“We represented (Transylvania) well, … opened up some eyes and put Transy on the map by grabbing the attention of some of the elite teams in the country,” DeArk said.

This past weekend the pioneers opened up conference play by sweeping a doubleheader against the College of Mount St. Joseph by scores of 3-2 and 8-1.The team is currently 2-0 in the HCAC and 13-5 overall. Their next contest is this afternoon at home against Wittenberg University, beginning at 3:30 p.m.


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