Senior Emma Holden’s passion for pitching propelled her to a season filled with award winning accomplishments.
In 2011 Holden was voted Press Enterprise’s Performer of the Year. Polling for the award began with 16 candidates, all former Press Enterprise Performers of the Week.
Holden has played softball since she was 5-years-old, but she did not start seriously pitching until she was in high school.
“When I was given a real chance to pitch I fell in love and developed my passion for the sport and pitching,” Holden said.
Along with her passion, Holden developed an immense talent on the mound. In 2011, Holden set the California Baptist University school records for career strikeouts (707) and strikeouts in a season (351).
Holden broke both records in a game against Azusa Pacific University on April 19.
Holden was recruited by former Head softball Coach Mike Smith and current Head Coach Bill Baber her senior year of high school. She had not yet found a good choice for college and California Baptist University felt right to her.
According to Holden, balancing academics and sports “is the hardest part of being an athlete.”
She had to make a big adjustment when she began her college career. 5 a.m. workouts three times a week threw off her sleep schedule.
5 a.m. wake ups, classes and afternoon practices make student athletes tired and going to bed early leaves less time for homework. However, Holden learned to manage her schedule to her advantage.
“I learned early to take advantage of my days off to get a head start on some projects. Sundays are also strictly homework days so hopefully I can get some work done in advance so that my week isn’t so stressful,” Holden said.
Holden’s schedule is so busy, she does not have much free time. However, she does like to hang out with her friends and talk to her family during her free time. During the summer she works as a nanny and teaches pitching lessons.According to Jim Alexander, Press Enterprise Sports Reporter, athletes were selected by “essentially how many times they were nominated and how many votes they received in those polls.”
Along with Holden, CBU athletes Trevor Graifman, Ingrid Carmona, Mary Hanson and Levi Cabral were also nominated.
“I feel truly blessed not only for winning the award but that I have so many people who helped me win it,” Holden said.
Holden’s friends, family, coaches and teammates helped spread the link to vote in order to help her win.
“I also felt very grateful that I was recognized for the season I had. I put my heart and soul into last season and tried my best to help my team. It is very humbling to be honored for my hard work and to have such great support,” Holden said.
Holden plans on continuing in softball after leaving CBU. She wants to go pro after she graduates in Europe.
“I also plan on teaching pitching lessons for the rest of my life. I really enjoy helping young girls and giving back.”
The 2012 softball season will mark Holden’s final season at CBU, which is set to begin in February 2012.
“Our goal is to show the PacWest, our new conference, what CBU softball is all about,” Holden said.