Summer's time

Sometimes it just runs in the blood. Many good, or great, athletes comes from fantastic bloodlines. It could have been their great grandparents, grandparents or mother and father that has the athletic gene in the them.

Whoever it may come from, the gene is passed down from generation to generation in hopes that it lands onto greatness.

Williamsville East High School freshman pitcher/infielder Summer Clark has already shown how dominating a player she can be on the softball diamond. The freshman already verbally committed to one of the best Southeastern Conference Schools (SEC) in the county when she said she would take her talents to the University of Missouri.

It shouldn’t have come to a surprise that she is already on every Division I college radar. She is a tireless worker on and off the field. She also comes from some great bloodlines. See, Clark is the fourth in her family to make it big.

She has three other role models to look up to.

“I come from a big sports family. My oldest sister Bri plays Division I softball at Niagara University. My sister Maddie plays D-I volleyball at East Carolina University. My brother Chase moved to Toronto this school year to play for the Toronto Nationals in the GTHL,” stated Clark. “In April he was drafted in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in the ninth round to Flint, Michigan. I have been around sports my whole life and it’s what our family enjoys doing. Jesse Rosenhahn has been my pitching and hitting instructor for approximately six years.”

Even with all the early on success, Clark still had to prove herself on the high school level. She has been a dominating force during her time with her travel team in the summer. But, she still needed to show that she can play with the best at the high school level.

Williamsville East is a powerhouse in the Western New York softball scene - and it isn’t easy to crack the lineup. After their magic run last year, the Flames graduated a lot of talent and that has allowed the younger players a chance to step in and show what they can do.

Clark has not missed a beat since making the varsity roster. The freshman has felt, and looked, right at home from the very first pitch of the season.

“I was really excited to make the Will East varsity softball team. I’m proud to wear the jersey and be part of a great program. There is a lot of talent on our team. We all support each other. They are a special group of girls,” stated Clark. “It is a great feeling stepping into the circle with great players all around me. They went to states last year and just came up short. Hopefully, I can help them bring a state championship home this year.”

Clark sure shows the confidence of a star athlete. Recently being named the WKBW Super 7 Athlete of the Week, Clark has shown the maturity of a senior and not a freshman. When she steps in the circle she commands the rubber.

A fierce competitor, Clark demands excellence from herself - and doesn’t like to loose.

“When I step in the circle, I feel I can beat any batter that steps into the box. I hate to lose. I am a competitor,” stated Clark. “I stay focused on the next pitch. You must have short term memory, stay relaxed and keep your composure.”

Being a competitor also helped her on the recruiting trail. She visited a lot of schools, and went to a lot of camps, in a short amount of time. But, Clark knew what she was looking for when it came to a college and university.

Maybe it was the fact that her two older sisters already went through the process. Clark could look back on what they went through when it came to what coaches were looking for in a Division I athlete.

When she went to a camp at Missouri, Clark knew right away that it was the right fit for her.

“I feel the recruitment process went well. I had a lot of interest. I attended camps and went on some unofficial visits too,” stated Clark. “When I attended Missouri’s elite camp in December, I just loved it. The softball facilities are beautiful. I really liked the coaches and felt it was a good fit. It has always been my dream to play in the SEC and when the opportunity came, I took it.”

It’s that love of the game that is so infectious. You will never see Clark without a smile on the her face - and it can’t but help rub off on the rest of the team. She brings a joy to the ball park everyday - and it shows.

“I love playing softball and know I want to continue playing at the highest level I can after high school. I don’t think it is scary. It is just part of the process,” stated Clark. “ I have a good support system at home. I love playing softball but realize it is just a sport. I try not to put too much pressure on myself. I work hard to prepare myself and just go out and have fun. There is always someone else working just as hard and there is always someone better. I just have to focus on improving my skills and being the best I can be.”