73° F Monday, May 22, 2017

By Monica Tan
Contributing Writer

Westlake graduate Kathy Dzienkowski and softball coach Haley Gaddis participated in the Texas Girls Coaches Association all-star softball game in Arlington on July 10.

Dzienkowski was nominated by Gaddis during her senior year, and she was then chosen as a catcher by a committee of representatives of each region in Texas. They were part of the first rain-shortened all-star softball game in TGCA’s history in a 1-0 win.

“It was a great honor to be selected to this team and to work out with such talented players,” Dzienkowski said. “The players came from all over Texas, and we had a lot of diversity of interests and backgrounds on the team.”

Dzienkowski’s and Gaddis’s team consisted of 14 players and two coaches, and the Chaps got together with the squad for two practices before the game, which would kick off the annual, nationally recognized TGCA clinics.

“My team was very good and had players going to UT, Baylor and Georgia Tech – three excellent softball programs,” Dzienkowski said.

The All-Star team includes seniors from 4A and 5A High Schools. There was a second team with players from Class 1A, 2A, and 3A high schools. The game is East vs. West, or Blue vs. Red.  Red is comprised of schools in TGCA Regions one, three, four, and six while Blue is composed of schools in TGCA Regions two, five, seven and eight. Dzienkowski was one of six 5A players selected for the Red team.

“We practiced only twice, once on Monday and once Tuesday,” Dzienkowski said. “These practices were about two hours long. During the practices, we hit and worked on defense. We also did demonstrations for other coaches in order to teach them new drills to use during the high school season.”
The team was required to room together in Arlington before the game and had a great time doing so, they said.
“I had a great experience getting to know the girls,” Gaddis said. “They all stayed the night in
the dorms at the University of Texas at Arlington the night before the game, so they got to know each other much better.”
On game day, the team demonstrated drills for softball coaches in attendance until it was time for the game to start.
“Our game started out with our team scoring one run in the first inning and holding the other team scoreless,” Dzienkowski said. “In the third inning, we had two runners on base with one out, and unfortunately a lightning strike caused a delay in the game.”
The unanticipated obstacle forced an early conclusion to the game for the first time in history.
“The game was rained out after waiting for 30 minutes, but since my team was winning 1-0, we technically won the game,” Dzienkowski said.
Kathy will be continuing her softball career at Dartmouth College in the fall.
“I loved playing for coach Gaddis for one more game,” Dzienkowski said. “Most of the players were going on to play college softball, so we will remember this experience as the final part of our high school softball career.”

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