Mercy's Alex Sobczak named State Champs' top player; chases career home run recordSoftball  |
Farmington Hills – Slugging for the fences is Alex Sobczak’s specialty.
Sobczak, a senior infielder at Farmington Hills Mercy who signed with Michigan, is State Champs’ No. 1 player for 2015 and she’s become quite accustomed to blasting pitches out of the park.
Twice Sobczak was named first team all-state in Division 1 by the coaches association. Entering this season Sobczak was tied for fifth for career home runs (35).
As a sophomore Sobczak crushed 17 homers, the second highest mark in state history in a single season. Last year she waded through a constant flow of intentional walks yet still went on to hit .613 with 62 RBI and nine home runs. If Sobczak his 15 home runs this spring, she will become the state’s all-time home run queen surpassing current record-holder Taylor Johnson, who smashed 49 homers at Belding (2007-2010).
Sizing up her chances of reaching the 50-homer plateau, Sobczak is undaunted by the challenge and remains humble and team-oriented.
“I know I’m capable of it,” she said. “I don’t think of it much though, if it’s meant to be, it will be meant to be. For me, winning is the most important thing. I want to win with my team. I’ll be more satisfied with another great season with me and my teammates than if I break the record.”
Sobczak and her teammates are two-time defending Catholic League A-B Division champions and have captured three straight district titles.
In addition to chasing records, Sobczak be shouldering duties expected from a player of her caliber and she’ll also be moving forward in the order, from the clean-up spot to lead-off.
“I’m looking forward to the added responsibility of being a team captain and I’m excited about the switch in the batting order,” she said. “We want to mix things up a little. Give opponents a different look. Hopefully, teams will pitch to me more. When I get to the plate, whether I’m hitting No. 4 or No. 1, I’m always looking to take a quality swing and drive it. I want to keep that mentality regardless of the situation.”
Sara McGavin, Mercy’s skipper in 2014 and top assistant this year, knows that last season’s intentional walk barrage took its toll on Sobczak, a fact that she’s confident only fueled Sobczak’s fire even more.
“You kind of start to roll your eyes, you understand it, you feel for her though, she wants to get in and hit and teams wouldn’t let her,” McGavin said. “Alex is a super strong young lady. She doesn’t get down, she fights through. No matter how much it drives her crazy, she just keeps her head and works harder.”
Sobczak tries to take the intentional-walking strategy employed against her in stride.
“It’s frustrating because you want to help your team the only way you know how,” she said. “But at the same time, I take it as an honor, something to be proud of.”