All smiles

Sometimes you know it just feels right. The day you step on campus for your official visit, you just feel at home. Sometimes, an athlete can’t describe the feeling - they just know.

They just know the school is the right fit for them. There is a feeling that comes over them that this is the place they want to call home for the next four years.

Mount Mercy Academy senior softball player Emily Lewandowski had that feeling the day she stepped on the campus of St. Bonaventure University. The second she stepped foot on the Olean campus she knew is was where she wanted to continue her softball career.

“St. Bonaventure felt like home from the first time I stepped on campus,” stated Lewandowski. “Bonas wasn’t really on my radar until I was informed that Coach Threehouse had seen me play and was interested in speaking on the phone. After my official visit, everything really just fell into place for me, both academically and athletically, and I couldn’t be more excited to get on campus and on the diamond in August.”

It was a long recruiting process for the senior, but one that she enjoyed. Most players aren’t keen on the scrutiny that comes with being recruited on a daly basis. Coaches will look for any reason to nit pick you at any given time.

It can also be a daunting task trying to perform when there are college coaches in stands. While Lewandowski knew the coaches where there, she just tried to concentrate on her game and what she does best.

“The recruiting process was definitely stressful at times, but incredibly rewarding. You really learn how to put yourself out there, and how to advocate for yourself as a player,” explained Lewandowski. “A big thing for me was working on keeping my confidence up and playing my game, no matter how many college coaches were watching. I would definitely go through the recruiting process again and wouldn’t trade the end result for the world. It was also amazing to see so many of my teammates fulfill what we’ve all been working towards, by committing to play collegiate softball.”

Working is something that Lewandowski knows how to do. She is a tireless worker in the field and at the plate. Being a left handed hitter, Lewandowski can either slap the ball the other way or hit for power.

It’s something that opposing coaches have to guard against on a daily basis - and it makes Lewandowski an all-around good, if not great, player.

“I love hitting, and I think it has always been the strongest part of my game. Being a lefty hitter and a righty fielder has been so advantageous to me since I can drop a drag bunt situationally, but also can hit for power,” stated Lewandowski. “I try to focus on On Base Percentage more than Batting Average since I believe that if you’re getting on base, you’re helping your team.”

While she is a star at Mount Mercy, Lewandowski has honed her game on the diamonds of her travel team. Travel ball has been an important aspect of Lewandowski’s game. She has been able to play with some of the best talent in Western New York.

Her team has also played against some of the best teams in the country. Just being able to suit up and play every day in the summer has made her a better player.

“Travel ball has been instrumental to my development as both a player and a person. The work ethic that Coach Joel Patterson has instilled in us is something hard to come by,” stated Lewandowski. “7 a.m. practices on Sunday mornings are never easy, but I know I wouldn’t be the player I am, and we wouldn’t be the team we are, without all these early mornings. I’ve always been so proud to wear an Easton jersey and to step on the field with such an amazing group of girls.”

Like most star athletes it;s just not about the game. Academics are highly important as well. Lewandowski knows she has a golden opportunity that most kids don’t get. She’s able to play a sport in college while receiving a top-notch education.

She will be using her talents to study biology, while minoring in Spanish. It’s never easy carrying two majors while playing a Division I spot, but Lewandowski is confident in her abilities in the classroom.

“At Bona, I will be a biology major with a Spanish minor,” she said. “I also am honored to have been accepted into the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Dual Admission program, meaning that upon graduation from Bona I have a provisional seat in medical school.”

But her time is not up just yet at Mount Mercy. Four years ago, the Magic where in a rebuilding phase. The softball program had fallen on hard time - but Lewandowski along with the rest of the senior class where a big reason for its rebirth.

The Magic have been a force in the Monsignor Martin over the past four years as the chance a Catholic title.

“We were very blessed by a solid influx of travel players in our class and we’ve really gelled as a team. We’re so proud that Mercy softball is back on the radar as one of the best teams in Monsignor Martin. Hopefully our success on the diamond and Mercy’s excellent academic reputation will encourage more travel players to chose to attend Mercy for high school,” she said. “I cannot speak highly enough about Mount Mercy. Mercy has truly allowed me to find myself and to set a foundation for my future. Our class is composed of some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met and I’m so proud to be a Mercy graduate. Participating in Student Government all 4 years of high school, and being elected Student Government President this year has allowed me to further develop my leadership skills, which have definitely transferred onto the softball diamond.”