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Calvin Sports News
Calvin slugger surprises herself
By Lynn Bolt Rosendale
Laurel Sands - click photo to enlarge image
Laurel Sands
The first time Calvin third baseman Laurel Sands hit a homerun this year, she had no idea what was going on.

"It was crazy," she said. "Coach wasn't waving me on to third, so I just stayed at second base. I had never hit a ball over the fence before."

By the fifth time this season she was starting to get pretty used to it. "It's still exciting every time," she said. "I just don't know where it's coming from. My whole batting philosophy has always been to hit the top half of the ball and hit it hard. That way you keep it on the ground. My philosophy hasn't changed, but I guess a few of my mechanics have."

Sands five homeruns this year set a single season Calvin record. Four of the long balls occurred during MIAA games, which tied Sands for second for the most homeruns in a season in the conference.

An All-State player at Rockford High School, Sands was a solid hitter but was never known as a power hitter. A slugging percentage of .725 this year, however, earned Sands second in the MIAA. A .400 batting average led the team and placed her seventh in the MIAA overall statistics.

All of this from a player who had decided to give up softball after her high school career.

"I thought I should move on and focus on my engineering degree," she said. Actually, Sands wasn't even at Calvin until January.

"I went to Michigan State," she said. "I never really thought about coming to Calvin because of the cost. After one semester though, I missed softball so much and I realized that Michigan State wasn't really for me. Calvin fits my mold so much better."

Sands emailed Calvin coach Amber Warners and "it started rolling from there," she said.

"I immediately recognized her name because I had seen her play five times in high school," said Warners. "I remember vividly getting that email and responding within about five minutes."

Sands moved into a starting role at third base this spring. "I didn't expect to do this well," said Sands, who was named first team All-MIAA. "I didn't feel in shape for softball and I had no idea how I would do."

Her success didn't surprise Warners.

"Laurel is not only a great softball player, but she is a quality individual," she said. "I was as excited about what she would bring to our team as a person as I was about what she could bring to the field. She's our spark plug and it's catchy. She makes things happen and that is a tremendous asset for our team."

Beyond softball, Sands believes the transfer has been a great move for her.

"In my very first interim class we prayed at the start of class and I thought, "This is so cool." That is an awesome aspect of Calvin. I find my whole floor living situation to be so much more comfortable for me.

"I have gone from being reluctant to really glad and I know that God is going to provide for me," she said. "Already, I don't feel the huge financial burden that I thought I would."

Sands is already looking forward to returning to the field next spring.

"When the season was over, she told me, 'I wish next season could start right now,'" said Warners. "That's the kind of attitude that you love to see as a coach."

Calvin Softball

MIAA Pitcher of the Week
Rachelle Heyboer

MIAA Softball


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