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FORMER UMBC PITCHER AMY SADOWL PLAYING PROFESSIONALLY IN THE NETHERLANDS
After finishing her collegiate career ranked among UMBC's best pitchers, Amy Sadowl is spending her summer pitching in the Netherlands.
By Jessica Bernheim, UMBC Assistant Director of Athletic Communications
Amy Sadowl’s senior season at UMBC was cut short. The pitcher from
So when she was presented the opportunity to play professionally in the
“After being hurt for the majority of my senior season I didn't feel done with playing softball,” Sadowl said in an e-mail from
Sadowl is playing in the city of
“My decision to come over here was kind of spontaneous,” she said. “I thought I'd never again have a chance to leave everything for four months and live in
Onze Gezellen plays doubleheaders on Saturdays and occasional night games during the week. The team practices only two or three times a week, much less than Sadowl was accustomed to in college, when the Retrievers practiced every day and usually played four or five games a week.
“This is a great opportunity for Amy, and it shows the strength of our program,” said UMBC head coach Joe French. “She is one of the best pitchers in school history, and this is a great reward for an outstanding career.”
Sadowl finished her collegiate career second all-time in UMBC history in wins (43), innings pitched (489), games started (77), appearances (102) and saves (4); fourth in complete games (43); fifth in strikeouts (212); sixth in winning percentage (.606); and 10th in ERA (2.82). She also posted the second-most wins ever in a season by a Retriever pitcher with 18 as a freshman in 2003.
Appearing in only 14 games in 2006 because of the shoulder injury, Sadowl made eight starts and posted a 5-3 record with a 3.85 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 47.1 innings. Also a solid hitter, she batted .273 with one home run and five RBI in 22 at-bats as a pinch hitter, designated player or right fielder. Sadowl’s statistics with Onze Gezellen are not available.
Sadowl learned of the team in
“The city is beautiful and has a wonderful town center with plenty of shops, restaurants and bars,” she said. “
Sadowl is the second UMBC softball player in as many years to travel overseas to continue her softball career past college. Last summer, former Retriever outfielder Megan Oursler spent her summer playing for a team in
Because the level of play is not as high as it is in the
“I'm excited to help out and give back to the organization since they have provided me with such a great opportunity,” she said. “For people who play sports here, there are not many opportunities to play like there are in
Onze Gezellen is not just a softball team, but an organization that consists of baseball, softball, soccer and basketball teams for people of all ages.
“It’s a very close-knit community. Everyone knows each other and a lot of the people have been part of the organization for many years,” Sadowl said, adding that she is one of the youngest players on her team. She said her squad’s center fielder played on the Dutch National Team in the 1996 Olympics and is around 35 years old but is still one of the best players in the league.
At the end of July, Sadowl will play in the European Cup in
“I am extremely excited to be able to contribute and experience playing against teams from all over
Sadowl has a game with Onze Gezellen on July 22 and will fly to
After the European Cup, Sadowl will have the entire month of August off and plans to travel to
“I figured UMBC isn’t going anywhere, but a free trip to Europe is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said, adding that she hopes to have an internship in the months between returning from
Though she does not speak Dutch – “it’s a very difficult language,” she said – Sadowl has learned some basic words. And she said most people speak English, so communication has not been a problem.
“Everyone is extremely polite and people go out of their way to help me out with anything I need,” she said.
However, the language barrier does prevent her from getting a job in the
“I do have plenty of free time, which I thought would get annoying since I’m used to being on the go all the time, but I’m really enjoying it,” Sadowl said. “It’s nice having nothing to do; it’s a good break from school and softball. I know this is probably the last time in my life I will have so much free time, so I’m enjoying it as much as I can.”
And she is adapting to the Dutch culture. “I’d say the biggest cultural difference is that everything is smaller – food, cars, houses, stores, roads, etcetera,” she said. “And absolutely everyone rides bikes everywhere. It was a little bit of a challenge at first, but now I’m used to it.”
She added that the competition is more relaxed in
Sadowl, however, does not have to pay to play – Onze Gezellen actually pays her. The team provides her with housing, a cell phone, a bike and a monthly stipend.
Though she is the only American on her team, Sadowl is living with an American coach who coaches another squad in
“So far the experience has been amazing,” Sadowl said. “I've met a lot of very nice people and love experiencing a new culture. I never thought softball would take me to