Coaches will not promote players -- especially junior high school kids -- to varsity unless they are certain the player can handle the pressure. When it came time for White Plains varsity softball coach Ted ODonnell to consider it for the-eighth-grader Lauren Sputo, the decision was a no-brainer.
Sputo was elevated to varsity and immediately became the Tigers pitcher. It was a move that made a lasting impact on the White Plains softball program. Even though White Plains was upset by Horace Greeley in a Section 1 Class AA Championship first-round game, it does not take away from Sputos outstanding career. Sputo finished with a one-hitter in the 10-inning shocker to Greeley, allowing the hit in the 10th.
Lauren's success came the old-fashioned way and that is through hard work, ODonnell said. It is impossible to measure the impact that Lauren has had on the White Plains program these past five years. Her legacy will live on forever.
Sputo will graduate this month with numerous program records, including career wins (78), strikeouts (908) and shutouts (38). This season, Sputo finished with a 12-4 record, a 0.67 earned run average, 163 strikeouts in 104 innings, seven shutouts and eight one-hitters. What makes this even more impressive is that Lauren shattered the records held by three former all-state pitchers, ODonnell said. Talent is not enough for a player to reach that elite level that Lauren has reached.
Offensively, Sputo made it difficult on her counterparts, hitting a team-leading .519 with six doubles, three home runs, 28 RBI and a .623 on-base percentage. ODonnell lauded Sputos pitching and hitting numbers, but focused her biggest impact this season. Im even more impressed with her development as a leader this season, ODonnell said. She was the consummate team player, constantly supporting and encouraging her teammates. They played hard for her because they knew how hard she worked and admired her humble, unselfish, team-first attitude.
Sputo said she will always remember her White Plains softball career. Playing White Plains varsity softball for the last five years has brought some of the most incredible people, coaches, teammates, experiences, and memories into my life, she said. I would have never accomplished everything that I have without each and every one of the people who played a role, big or small, in my career.
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