Hello Sara Driesenga (Softball)

Submitted by MGoSoftball on May 25th, 2011 at 12:18 PM

This post is designated for those among us who do not follow softball on an hourly basis. Those that do follow softball closely have known that Sara verbally committed to Michigan years ago.  So at the risk of a neg-bang, I want to educate the non-softball Mgo People as to what the incoming Freshmen have to offer.  So this post is more of a player profile than a true “Hello” post.  I just want to have some fun with this and piss off the haters.

There is a rumor that Sara was singing the “Victors” in the womb, but that has not been confirmed as yet.  Sara announced before Hutch or anyone else could contact her, making it easy for Hutch.

In the State of Michigan there are 3 main “pockets” of softball.  These are the Grand Rapids area which includes Jenison, Wyoming Rogers, and Hudsonville.  The second power-house region is the Kalamazoo region.  This includes Eastwood, Westwood and Parchment.  The third high profile region is in the U.P.: Gladstone (Happy Rock), Escanaba and to some extent Marquette.

This is not to say that other area have good softball programs.  Macomb Dakota, Anchor Bay, Tecumseh and some areas near Detroit; have excellent programs but do not produce year in and year out.

Sara Driesenga is a RHP for the Hudsonville Eagles.  She is 6’1’.  Her fastball is clocked at 65 MPH, her drop ball falls off the table, her rise ball jumps a foot and her change up can fool anyone.   To some experts, pitching is not her best attribute.  She can hit for average and power.  In 2010, she hit .541 with 73 runs and 72 hits.  She had 20 doubles, 6 triples and 14 HR.  In 2011 she is on par to break several school hitting records.

Sara led the Eagles to Division 1 (highest division in Michigan) state championships in 2009 and 2010.  The 2011 tournament starts next week (31MAY11) and H’ville is the favorite to win again.

Sara is an awesome student as well.  She carries a 4.0 GPA.  This is not too shabby considering she is never home on weekends to study because she is playing in tournaments from April 1 through August.

She has received numerous awards. 

  • In 2010 she was only 5 Juniors to be ranked in the ESPN Top 25. 
  • She was the 2009 and the 2010 Gatorade Player of the Year. 
  • She recently won the DAC Female Player of the Year.
  • ESPN National Junior Softball Player in 2010

Tom Vruggink is the H’Ville coach, a position he has held for over 30 years.  “I have never had anyone dominate a game like she can”, says Vruggink.  He should know.  He has put many ladies into Division 1 college schools.

Hutch has high expectations for her, “she can bat for herself, which is always nice”.  And when she is not pitching, Hutch eluded that Sara might play 1stbase.  Sara’s defensive skills are second to none, leading her team in fielding % when playing 1st base.

Sara plays her summer ball in Illinois for the Bandits.  Most people here probably have never heard of the Bandits.  Why? Because they dont play in Michigan.  They travel all over the South and Southeast.  The Bandits are an elite team with most players going to Top 10 Colleges.  Sara is arguably  the best player on the team.

I had the pleasure of watching Sara pitch as a Sophomore.  The tournament we were at, she pitched the entire weekend and gave up only a few hits total.  She is the real deal and something special.

Ok.  Now that we can stop drooling, we need to discuss the potential downside.  Sara had surgery on her left shoulder in 2009.  It has not been a problem since her recovery.  If she can stay healthy, she might, just might, break some school records.  Our future is bright and Its Great to be A Michigan Wolverine.  Especially in the next few years, as we will re-load.

So for those who are worried that JT is leaving, rest assured, Sara will ease your worried minds.




May 25th, 2011 at 12:27 PM ^

I cant wait till my daughter gets a hello post on MGoBlog, whether its main page or MGoBoard, I don't care.  Now just got to get her to learn how to crawl...


May 25th, 2011 at 12:59 PM ^

as you know there are many Van something-or-other west of Grand Rapids and Holland area.  These girls can play some ball.  One of the coaches told me they passed a law making soccer illegal in Kent County.  This way the girls can focus on softball only during the spring and summer.


May 25th, 2011 at 1:20 PM ^

They used to be the softball power in Ottawa (not Kent) along with Jenison. Now they are the soccer queens (five straight state titles) and Hudsonville has supplanted them as the softball empresses. Wonder what happened to move the talent to the Eagles/Wildcats rather than the Saders. Sunday practices? 


May 25th, 2011 at 12:35 PM ^

The surgery was on her non-pitching shoulder so it sounds like it shouldn't be too much of a problem going forward. 

The 6 triples suggest that she has good speed too, and the grades suggest that she's mature and has a good work ethic.  


May 25th, 2011 at 12:44 PM ^

im too lazy to look, but wasnt somebody saying in a post yesterday (maybe the day before, who really knows) that they weren't too enamored with our pitchers now that JT was gone and they were hoping we could get a badass freshman to pick up that slack?  well there you go


May 25th, 2011 at 12:55 PM ^

we had panic in the streets of AA when someone pointed out that JT was leaving.  I tried to calm his/her nerves because I know what Sara can do.  I did not want to show any disrespect to JT, Spidey or Maj Payne by praising Sara before the season was over.

Sara just might challenge Spidey for the #1 but I think Hutch will gradually bring Sara up to speed.  Then when the Big 10 season starts, Sara should be ready to go.  Then when Spidey is pitching, Sara will challenge Mandy for the 1st base position.

The future is bright.  Get your tickets now before they are sold out.


May 25th, 2011 at 1:05 PM ^

legally authorized to answer because she is younger than my daughter.  However, this young lady could easily be a swim suit model.  I will leave the hotness factor up to all you younger MGo-Perverts.

In case you have never been to the Holland area, just about every woman is blonde hair, blue eyes, tall and thin.  I will comment about her mother:  mom is smoking.  So we will have some sunshine in the stands this fall.

All I can say is Its Great....to be....A Michigan Wolverine.  



May 25th, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

When I attend the softball games, I wouldn't know where to concentrate. The game, or the sidelines, where her mother might be jumping up and down cheering her.


More seriously - always proud to see quality atheletes choose U of M. Sounds to me like she is to softball what Micheal Phelps is to swimming.


May 25th, 2011 at 9:53 PM ^

This pitch is actually an off speed pitch or change up.  Sara's fingers must be long in order to tuck the index finger in.

Most kids have to throw the "circle change" in order to have enough grip on the ball so not to lose the feel.

This pitch will look like a fast ball coming in but them just fall off the table and hit the plate.  The problem with this is that

1) most of these pitches hit the dirt

2) it is thrown with 2 strikes which is a dropped third strike

This pitch is impossible to hit if thrown in the correct location (around the knees).  Some pitcher hang it high and then it goes bye bye.  If a batter leans into this pitch is usually is a grounder to the left side of the infield.


May 25th, 2011 at 1:22 PM ^

great too. I know those games are always tight. I dont have the all-time stats in front of me but I think Rogers has you by a couple. Dont forget about K'Ville although they have been down lately. Gotta love the ball in the GR area. Little League District 9 has won many Softball and baseball State Championships as well as World Series Championships.

Sara pitched in the Big league World Series last year. District 9 played District 2 (Kalamazoo) and Sara ROCKED.

I had a travel ball player that played for Rogers. Pinery Park is a nice place to watch a game, with mature trees and plently of parking. I know some games are played there.

I dont have a preference though.


May 25th, 2011 at 3:58 PM ^

What don't you understand about it? haha  Two cities separated by 7 miles along Little Bay de Noc.  Gladstone has had a few pretty good years here in a row.  Not sure if any U.P. players have ever played for Michigan though.


May 25th, 2011 at 2:42 PM ^

I'm a graduate of Hudsonville and a former student of Tom Vruggink so I can attest to the excellence of his program.  Tom is high character coach/teacher like Hutch who instills integrity and work ethic in all of his athletes/students, so I am confident that Sara will have a great deal of success in her time at Michigan.  Mr. V was my 4th grade teacher and he was never afraid to kick our butts if we slacked off on homework but was just as kind as he was motivating.  

Despite the fact that Hudsoville High is rife with obtuse, pickup-truck driving hicks, the softball program has always been a beacon for academic and athletic excellence under Mr. V.  I hope to see many more Hudsonville softball players come to Michigan. 


May 25th, 2011 at 4:32 PM ^

You mentioned she had surgery on her Left shoulder but is a Right handed pitcher.  Could you elaborate into how this could affect her pitching for us lay people who are softball fans, but don't know the mechanics of softball pitching?



May 25th, 2011 at 5:55 PM ^

what do you mean by Eastwood and Westwood? Not to sound like a douche, but those are neighborhoods, so I was just wondering what you meant by that


May 25th, 2011 at 9:45 PM ^

you dont have to tell me about South Portage.  I had a team in the Little League (16U) State tournament a few years back.  We were on a roll until we ran into South Portage, then we played District 9 Pinery Park and our season was over.


May 25th, 2011 at 7:00 PM ^

Totally Awesome Recruit Along With Hayley Wagner And Lauren Sweet... The Ladies Will Be In Great Hands At The Plate And On The Mound. Congrats To Coach Hutchins!


May 25th, 2011 at 8:21 PM ^


As far as lineups for next year, would you say that

...Mandy will step into Shaw's position in both the field and lineup?

...Sara will hit when she pitches and maybe DH when not a la Nikki Nemitz?

...if Sara play 1b, would Mandy be the DH?

...Lyndsay Doyle takes over in right?

What else should we expect new for next year?


May 25th, 2011 at 9:31 PM ^

as I see it.  I posted this the other day.

  1. Bree Evans CF
  2. Colie Sappingfield LF
  3. Ashley Lane 2B
  4. Amanda Chidester 3B
  5. Stephanie Kirkpatrick SS
  6. Lyndsay Doyle RF
  7. Caitlin Blanchard C
  8. Mandy Gardner 1B
  9. Amy Knapp DP

This assumes Spidey is pitching.  However, when Sara pitches, she will probably bat for herself.  She is a beast at the plate.

You make an interesting point about Mandy playing DH and Sara playing 1st.  That could be an option.  However, I do not know anything about Sara's speed.  Amy has speed and experience so I have to believe Hutch would keep Amy in.

Another option is to put Chiddy behind the plate again and put Amy at 3rd, Mandy/Sara DH or 1st base.

Mandy is under-rated in my opinion.  I watched some video of her and I have seen her during BP.  She can flat out hit.

Hutch has a lot of very nice problems to figure out.  Fall ball will be interesting for sure.


May 25th, 2011 at 9:07 PM ^

Sara might be a better person than she is a player. 

She coaches / instructs my daughter (10yrs old) for pitching.  When I explained to my daughter that Sara was the Gatorade National Junior Softball Player of the year, and two time Michigan Gatorade player of the year, this was her comment... "She sure doesn't act like it!"

Sara has not only been a great coach, but a great role model.  She will be missed!



May 25th, 2011 at 9:37 PM ^

from what I can tell from my very limited research, her parents are an active part of her life.  Im sure they have a huge impact in her life. 

We are so so lucky to have Sara stay home and go blue.  She could have went to any school in the country.  I hope everyone realizes what a special player we have here.

I will not make any comparisions of Sara to any of the greats just yet.  But I do have a feeling about her.  This makes me want to max out in the Diamond Club.  Im sure Hutch loves to hear that too.


May 26th, 2011 at 11:42 AM ^

They are a huge part of her life as is her whole family.  I think that her family ties would have come to an end though if she would have chosen a different shool.  Very rarely do I see her dad without Maze and Blue.