Sports

Athlete of the Week: Park ’18 shows off hitting power in opening games

Sophomore outfielder records two homers, nine RBIs at Winthrop Invitational

By
Staff Writer
Friday, March 4, 2016

Yeram Park ’18 follows through on a swing after making contact. The sophomore started the year by hitting .545 at the Winthrop Invitational.

The softball team started the season off with a bang, winning four of five games at the Winthrop Invitational last weekend. The team saved its best performance for last, dominating Rider on the way to a 20-2 victory. At the center of action was outfielder Yeram Park ’18, who batted .545 in the tournament, hitting two home runs and driving in nine runs.

Catalyzing the offense is nothing new for Park: As a first-year, she led the team in RBIs and walks and tied for the team lead in doubles. Park performed well throughout the invitational, but her standout moment came in the sixth inning of the game against Wagner, when she broke a 0-0 tie with a three-run home run. Bruno needed every bit of Park’s offense, as it had to stave off a late rally to hold on to a 3-2 victory.

Park earned the honor of Madness Ivy League Softball Player of the Week from CollegeSportsMadness.com. For her commanding performance at the invitational, Park has been named The Herald’s athlete of the week.

Herald: When did you begin your softball career?

Park: I didn’t start playing softball until I was 10. I played soccer before, but I have two older brothers, and they played baseball. And so I just kind of wanted to hang out with them. Softball and baseball became a family sport.

What’s your assessment of the team this season and the program in general?

I really love the team. I still have a lot to learn, but our team this year has a lot of potential, and I really think we can win Ivies.

You guys had a lot of success last weekend at the Winthrop Invitational. How did it feel starting off the season in such strong fashion?

Obviously it was really exciting. We knew going into it (that) it was going to be a good season based on what we saw at practice.

You were named Madness Ivy League Softball Player of the Week for your performance at the Winthrop Invitational. It must be nice to be recognized for your success.

So, I actually just found that out right now. … I guess it feels good, but our wins weren’t just based off of me, so I am honored, but I can’t take all the credit.

The team really looked to you for offense last year. Did you consider that to be a burden as a first-year, and now as a sophomore do you feel more prepared to carry that load?

I was definitely overwhelmed last year, because prior to college I was more of a gap hitter. I wasn’t really a power hitter, and I was more for speed, which is why I think (Head Coach Katie Flynn) recruited me. But I injured my foot last year, and that was a real setback. I couldn’t steal bases anymore. I just had to lean on hitting, and it kind of worked for me. I knew I could hit gappers, but I didn’t expect Coach to put me in the third or cleanup spot in the lineup.

What are the goals for the season?

I think a lot of the losses that we had were based off of one-run differences that came down to the bottom of the seventh inning. And the fact that one of the games in the tournament we came out winning by one run shows that we have a lot more stamina this year, and hopefully it will show in the Ivy Leagues. … Obviously the goal is to win Ivy Leagues, and I think we have a realistic shot.

On to the more fun questions. If you could play one other sport at Brown, what would you play?

If we had lacrosse back home, I feel like I would have liked lacrosse because it’s a good in-between for soccer and softball.

Craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on the softball field?

It’s a bad memory, but I remember it every time. I was trying to catch a ball in the outfield last year, and the fence came out of nowhere, and I definitely ran into the fence. I had a couple cuts on my face. I had never run into a fence before! It was really windy, so I think everyone in the outfield ran into the fence that day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.