FSW softball pitcher wins FCSA’s female athlete of the year award

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Belle Sardja was named the FCSA’s female athlete of the year after dominating the 2022 softball season at Florida SouthWestern University.

FSW pitcher Sardja dominates on the mound, but her mindset isn’t to leave hitters swinging and missing, she’d rather set up her teammates to make the right play.

“I don’t really try to overthrow or try to have that dominating mentality. It’s more like a pitch to my fielders. So pitch to the place where my fielders can field the ball,” said Sardja.

“She’s a surgeon on the mound,” said FSW softball head coach Robert Lamurri.

When the Buccaneers are in a tough spot, Sardja is the first pitcher head coach Lamurri turns to. Pressure creates diamonds, and in this case, overcoming countless pressure situations earned Sardja the FCSAA female athlete of the year award. It’s the first time an FSW athlete won the award.

“It’s really an honor, especially knowing the athletes who have come before me,” said Sardja.

While wearing the Buccaneers uniform, Sardja helped the team win back-to-back national championships, but the start of each season was a challenge since she was combating injuries to her elbow and shoulder.

“If I were to go back, I wouldn’t take away anything. I wouldn’t take away the injury,” said Sardja. “I wouldn’t take away the mental toughness that I had to go through and all the like trials and tribulations that I had to go through because it did for me and shaped me into who I am now.”

Sardja is heading to the University of South Florida, leaving behind a legacy that’s more than just stats.

“She’s the ideal pitcher for ideal player actually for a coach. You know a player that’s very easy going with her teammates and very team-oriented,” said Lamurri. “But you know when you give her the ball she’s the one that starts every pitch and she’s got that intensity and that zone.”

“Someone who wanted that my other teammates to be successful. Someone who wanted to push others and just knowing that I was there because I love to do it,” said Sardja.

For Sardja, making an impact on the mound is one thing, but she hopes to impact the people and teammates she has away from the game too.

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