The ceremony recognizing Sarah Trifoso’s signing a Division I letter of intent brought forth a show of emotion.
Not from Trifoso, who calmly thanked her family, coaches and teammates while announcing her decision to attend and play softball at Niagara University.
Rather, it was her Corning Hawks coach, Irene Furness, who choked up while addressing those attending Thursday’s event at Corning West High.
“It’s great to see girls become so successful with hard work,” Furness explained.
Trifoso called the recruiting process difficult. Her father, Paul, said that besides Niagara, Trifoso had been contacted by Division I schools Siena and Colgate, Division II colleges Mercyhurst and College of St. Rose, and Division III St. John Fisher.
“It was a lot of pressure to play well, a lot of waiting to hear from coaches,” Sarah Trifoso said.
She said she liked the Niagara coaches and players when she visited the campus, and the Buffalo-area college is close enough for her to visit home and for family to occasionally watch her play.
Furness said Trifoso’s skills, particularly speed, more than makes up for what she lacks in size.
“She was always the smallest kid on the field, but she didn’t let that get in her way,” Paul Trifoso said.
Sarah Trifoso has played all three outfield positions, and Furness said her quickness and ability to read the ball off the bat makes Trifoso a top defensive player. She can also do the job at the plate.
“She’s a slap hitter, and her on-base percentage is really high. She has the speed to get to first and put pressure on the defense. She will make a great base runner,” Furness said.
Trifoso agreed with her coach’s assessment but noted she does have some power. She said she’s been preparing for the college game by swinging against a pitching machine to throws the ball in at 70 miles per hour.
“I run to the ball and place it. But I can hit for the gaps,” Trifoso said.
Paul Trifoso said his daughter grew up competing against boys and made the all-star team as a Little Leaguer. She also liked to play basketball.
Volleyball, though, apparently did not pique Trifoso’s interest. Furness, who coaches the Hawks varsity volleyball team, said she attempted to get Trifoso to try out. She recalled that Trifoso showed up for the first day but never returned, and chalked it up to Trifoso’s focus on softball.
“The passion she plays with is incredible,” Furness said.
She also said the colleges checking Trifoso could tell how good a player she is by watching her. They wanted Furness to give them a deeper insight.
“They’re not just looking at athleticism,” Furness said, mentioning academics and treatment of teammates, fellow students and teachers as other concerns, and giving her high marks for intangibles.
“She wants to do what’s best to help,” Furness said.