It’s hard to look at a freshman or sophomore athlete and say “this one is going to help us get to the playoffs.”
Senior Bryanna Soliwoda was not the slugger phenom when she started with the Trojans. In fact her freshman year was spent with the junior varsity. It was not until her junior year she blossomed as a softball player.
Soliwoda has been an integral part of the Trojans volleyball and softball teams for the past two years and her hard work in both sports has helped both teams to post season play.
In volleyball, her hard work to be a good setter helped her team this year to win one more game in the playoffs.
In softball last year as a junior third baseman for the Lady Trojans, she hit .657 and led the team in hitting and helped take the team to the playoffs.
Soliwoda is a team player and Trojans Coach Ely Armendariz likes her attitude.
“Soliwoda has improved her hitting and defense. What I like about her is she will try anything and play anywhere you ask her and once she sets her goals she is very determined to meet them. This year I expect her to be very aggressive on the base pads,” he said.
Armendariz believes Soliwoda strives hard to meet goals that she sets for herself and his third baseman made the goal to improve her hitting last year and she did.
Soliwoda plays hard no matter what sport she is playing. She said over the years volleyball and softball rose above all other sports. She tried other sports when she was younger like cheer and basketball but she just didn’t like them as much.
“I love both softball and volleyball a lot,” she said. “My favorite sport would be softball just because I played it longer. I started off playing baseball and then slowly moved over to softball. That sport has been in my life the whole time. As far as volleyball my mother played when she was in high school and she encouraged me to play when I got into middle school.”
As a young girl in third grade, Soliwoda started playing baseball in Colorado. At first, she said she played with boys in Little League.
“I am not sure what got me into it. I think it was because my brother wanted to play too. Then I realized that I was quite good at it, so I just kept going,” she said.
When she first started playing softball she remembered having two influential coaches, Mark Busby and Cindy Barney. These two taught her how to hit. Busby was always hard on the young player to make her a better player and Soliwoda always gives him a lot of props for making her stick with the sport.
“I remember in junior high over the summer I was always at Mallory’s house (Busby’s daughter) because of the amount of games we played,” Soliwoda explained.
Soliwoda said she works hard to keep her grades up so that she can go to college and possibly play softball in college.
“I have always been good with academics. I would get good grades playing softball or not. I have never been ineligible. Our softball team has a lot of Advance Placement students. I am in AP calculus. I like math and have been good at it since middle school,” she said.
During the off season Soliwoda worked hard on her defensive skills more than her hitting. She is a humble player and does not see herself as the best hitter or fielder on the field.
“I see a few girls that are better fielders than me,” she said. “I am working on the way I field the ball and throw. I played on a summer league last year and broke my pinky at the very first practice of my travel-ball team. I was fielding the ball at the time and the ball hit my pinky. I want to better my fielding, mainly my footwork. I also have to get more stolen bases according to coach. Melanie and I are the most aggressive on the bases.”
The group of girls playing softball this year basically grew up together. These girls are used to winning and playing with each other. She said growing up “winning is all they knew how to do.”
When asked if she would be surprised if the team did not make the playoffs this year, she replied with a big “Yes.”
Soliwoda believes the five seniors are trying to help everyone out and will lead the team along with junior captain Amanda Pryor.
The team will have to work out a few kinks and get used to the new girls. Soliwoda compared the team to her volleyball team and said after the volleyball team got used to working with each other in her junior year they made the playoffs. She believes this year’s softball team will have to work hard as a team.
“We did badly in the tournaments last year in volleyball and did better this year. For volleyball it was just a different team. You just have to get used to so many different people. I think that is why we did so badly at the tournaments because we were not used to each other. You have to know how the other person plays before you can do well,” Soliwoda commented.
The Trojans softball team takes to the field next week at a tournament in Needles, Calif.