Katie Savard Steps Up to the Plate
Kris Brackmann | Feb. 22, 2015, 3:17 a.m.
It sure must be cold for first baseman Katie Savard CM ’16 to play softball with ice water running through her veins. When it comes to being a clutch player, Savard has it down to a T.
Katie's journey toward becoming an Athena began at a young age when she started playing T-ball and Little League. Growing up, Savard played many sports with her younger brother—with her dad as a coach. Even at a young age, she understood that she loved to compete, and she loved softball.
“I inherited a competitive quality from both of my parents,” Savard said. “From an early age I realized that winning was something I valued a lot, and it makes competing a lot more fun when you can come out on top.”
Savard has continued her victories in the realm of collegiate athletics. Last season, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team won the Regional Championship for the first time in program history, and Savard received First-Team SCIAC honors. Her six hits and .600 batting average through the first four games led the Athenas this year. She is also second on the team in runs scored with three, putting her once again in the position to be pivotal player for a CMS squad hoping to make another run at a SCIAC title.
Savard is already familiar with making school history, as she led Bellevue High School in Washington to a bronze medal in the school’s first state tournament appearance.
“That was probably when I knew what it meant to compete at a high level and what it [meant] to be a good team player and be a good team,” Savard said.
So when Savard came to CMS, these lessons carried over into her role as a play-making first basewoman and clutch hitter.
“It’s always really exciting when Katie comes up to bat when we have runners on because there’s this feeling where you know she’s going to do something to help our team,” left-fielder Alexa Heydenberk CM ’17 said. “She’s that person who comes up, and everyone gets excited.”
Savard keeps things simple and reminds herself every time she’s at bat that she’s done it a million times before.
“All I have to do is hit the ball,” she said. And if that’s not enough to calm her nerves, she just looks out into the field to see her teammates on base who are relying on her to make a play.
“If you could have any batter step to the plate with the game on the line, Katie would be there,” head coach Betsy Hipple said. “She is a tremendous team player for as good of a hitter [as] she is, and she will happily put down a sac bunt and sacrifice herself.”
This selflessness speaks true to Savard’s positive and contagious attitude that makes her a team player through and through.
“Her greatest assets are consistency, reliability and an incredibly even temperament," Hipple said. "She’s a tremendous athlete and a fierce competitor. She’s absolutely in it to win it. But on the surface, when you hang out with Katie, she is really light-hearted and she keeps players around her light.”
You would be hard-pressed not to find Savard smiling and having a good time when she’s out on the pitch or grinding it out in practice.
“I just enjoy playing,” Savard said. “It’s a break from the classroom, I’m with some of my best friends on the team, and we just get to go out, practice our skills and do what we’re passionate about.”
Savard’s true love for the game inspires her teammates on a daily basis and gets them excited to practice even when it’s time for the monotonous drills.
“Katie is not a super vocal player, so she is much more of a leader with the consistency of her work ethic and consistency of [the] excitement she brings to practice,” Hipple said.
The Athenas (3-1, 2-0 SCIAC), who next take the field when they host Willamette University (0-0) in a double-header Feb. 21 at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., will continue to reap the benefits of Savard’s determination and leadership.
“Katie is a very poised athlete, and she really leads by example,” Heydenberk said. “She’s just one of those people that you can look up to no matter what she’s doing.”