While most of us were burning our oiled skin on some exotic beach over Spring Break, freshmen Katie Varde was doing her own sort of burning down in Florida.
After scorching pitchers from around the country at the Rebel Games in Kissimmee for an entire week, Varde was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Tuesday. During the eleven game streak, Varde hit .448, with 13 hits (five of which were four-baggers), garnered 12 RBIs, and scored 10 runs.
She hit two homers in one game against Stony Brook and at one point during the tournament hit a home run on three consecutive days. The power, in most cases, came fast and furious for the Wilmette, Ill. native, as well, with four of her five long balls coming in her first at-bat of the game.
Varde also played a key role in leading the women’s team to a very successful 7-4 record at the Games. Particularly important to the team’s success were Varde’s first inning contributions, an inning which saw her hit an astounding .857, including the four home runs, as well as a double, a single, and a walk.
When asked about how it felt hearing she had won the team’s first individual honor of the season Varde commented, “I really wasn’t expecting it. I don’t think about those things much, I just go out and play. In fact, I didn’t even find out until my parents called me all excited last night. They must’ve seen it online.”
Interestingly, Varde actually came to Cornell after being recruited for the basketball team here and then walked on the softball team in the fall. After splitting time in the fall between her two favorite sports, two old knee surgeries finally forced her to make a decision.
“I had to decide, and it came down to the difference in the physical demands of the two sports. Softball is just so much different, it’s less banging and so it was the better choice,” said Varde.
When she made her decision, Varde wasn’t even sure whether she’d be playing come the Ivy League season.
“I was a walk-on, so I wasn’t guaranteed anything. Coach [Blood] told me that it would come down to how I hit in the Spring,” added Varde.
If it does come down to her bat, Varde should feel pretty good about her chances of being on the field come Saturday’s first Ivy league game against Columbia. In her first season on the Hill, Varde is currently leading the team in batting average (.396), home runs (7), and RBIs (18). She is only one home run short of tying the Cornell record for most home runs in a season.
Archived article by Scott Jones