By Rick Teverbaugh The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin
---- — PENDLETON — Much has been made, and rightly so, of the hot hitting streak put together by Sarah Dixon during her team's tournament run.
But to hear some accounts, she came out of nowhere to become one of the toughest outs in the state. That simply isn't true.
The junior shortstop from Pendleton Heights hit .495 on the season with two homers, 25 runs batted in, 10 doubles and 19 steals as the leadoff hitter in the potent Arabian attack. That was more than enough to earn her the THB Softball Player of the Year status.
"She's the kind of player who works hard for everything she gets," said PH coach Rob Davis. "She certainly got hot at the right time. But she was a consistent performer all season for us."
Dixon added a dimension to her offense that hadn't been much in evidence the season before — more power.
"I worked on a full swing a lot during the winter," said Dixon. "I rarely slapped at all."
"We just did whatever the defense gave us," said Davis. "She would do the opposite of whatever they were playing her to do."
That made some of her hitting a bit easier. "If the outfield can't come in, then it is easier to hit it over the infield and get it to drop in."
The hits started dropping all over the place once the post-season tournaments began. In two successive sectional games, she was just one extra base hit from hitting for the cycle. It almost got to the point where a single might be considered a mediocre at bat.
"I knew each tournament game could be my last one (of the season) and could be the last one ever for the seniors," said Dixon. "There's extra pressure in those games, but I've always liked pressure. In that time I felt like I was seeing the ball really well."
Dixon also had to expand her defensive repertoire to help her team this year.
"All her life she had been a second baseman," said Davis. "She has the strongest arm on the team, so we needed her at shortstop. She played it very well."
"My arm got stronger (during the winter)," said Dixon. "There are a lot more responsibilities at short than at second." On her summer travel ball team she is playing center field, which is also a likely destination when she is ready to play in college.
Another part of her preparation is playing travel ball this summer.
"I play every weekend," said Dixon. "I never get burned out playing. A lot of my friends are the ones on my team. Playing on that team is like hanging out during the summer with my friends." She is playing on the Indy Dreams Gold team with PH teammates Bailey Benefiel and Jordan Dean.