Where Are They Now? Sarris adapts to new role at Delaware State

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Riding highs and lows in the same week, Stephanie Sarris earned all-conference honors for Delaware State, yet couldn’t help keep the Hornets’ season alive.

On Monday, the former All-Empire softball player from Rancho Cotate was named second team pitcher for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference after receiving the same honor as a freshman.

On Thursday, she was solid in relief, but Delaware State suffered a pair of conference tournament losses, ending an otherwise strong season that included an MEAC North Division title.

“We were all in a little bit of shock. Teams were aiming for us. We definitely had a big target on our backs,” Sarris said. “It makes you a lot hungry for next year.”

Already a team leader on the statistics sheet, Sarris will anchor Delaware State’s bid to continue winning at the NCAA Division I level next season.

“I’ll take on that role as a leader,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of success. We expect a lot of ourselves.”

Sarris has developed into an accomplished college pitcher, overcoming a shoulder injury and adapting to a new role.

Early in her first fall at Delaware State, Sarris was told soreness in her right shoulder was from a torn labrum. Surgery and four months of not throwing a softball followed.

When she did return, Sarris couldn’t throw as hard and found her off-speed pitches moved more. Finding a comfort zone on the mound again was difficult.

“I knew I would get back into it. Mentally dealing with everything was the hardest part,” she said.

Come back Sarris did. Pitching in relief, she was twice conference rookie of the week, leading the MEAC in saves and setting a school record as well. Sarris led the conference in relief appearances and games finished. Second on the team in strikeouts, Sarris fanned three times as many batters as she walked.

Coming in to stop rallies and close out wins is a role Sarris now relishes.

“It’s more about finding your own kind of rhythm,” she said. “It was a new opportunity, a way to help my team.”

A year older and healthier, Sarris pitched more this past season.

Soreness is a good feeling and she fights through any doubts about injury.

Sarris led Delaware State in appearances and innings pitched, tied for most wins and posted the Hornets’ second lowest earned-run average. Her second all-conference selection followed.

“I’m progressively getting stronger,” she said. “I’ve grown a bit as a player. I’m more developed.”

You can reach Staff Writer Michael Coit at 521-5470 or mike.coit@pressdemocrat.com.