Emerging freshman Dandola shines for the Pride
If a freshman is awarded both CAA Rookie of the Week and Pitcher of the Week just one month into her collegiate career, she has to be doing something special.
Sophie Dandola, pitcher for the Hofstra softball team, is making her presence known early in her campaign.
“I kind of never expected it as a freshman,” Dandola said.
“I came in and I actually had a broken hand so spending all the fall just doing reps with one hand, I didn’t really expect anything.”
In 10 appearances, Dandola has 45.2 innings pitched, five wins and a 1.53 earned run average (ERA) with 24 strikeouts.
Just one week ago, she pitched a complete game against Florida Gulf Coast University allowing only one run, which came unearned. She even put together great outings against two nationally ranked teams in Florida State University and Oregon University.
“I worked really hard during the preseason and the second I broke my hand, I got back to work right away,” Dandola said.
Coming out of her senior year at high school, Dandola faced serious adversity going into her first season at the college level.
Despite this, she remained persistent and worked her way back to her usual dominance. Much of this could be attributed to her father, who played football at LIU Post.
“He just made me stay focused and told me how to act in tough situations and he always kept me practicing and kept me on track,” Dandola said.
“I think that really helped me and shaped me into the athlete I am today.
She began playing softball at the age of five and slowly worked her way to becoming the star pitcher she is today. At Seaford High School, she played four years, posting ERAs of 0.92, 0.88, 0.72 and 0.57 in those seasons.
Dandola was a successful two-athlete student at Seaford, having been awarded All-County honors in both softball and volleyball.
She was also awarded with an All-Long Island honor for softball and an All-State honor for volleyball.
At Hofstra, Dandola joins sophomore Sarah Cornell on the circle to create a dynamic duo. Cornell was in the same exact situation Dandola was in last year.
Now, with the two of them, the Pride have perhaps the best one-two pitching duo in the CAA. Dandola credits Cornell for helping her mentally prepare for not only big games, but for the small things as well.
As a freshman, she is, of course, focused on succeeding throughout her career at Hofstra, but she also hopes to get a lot more out of her time with the Pride.
“I want to have all the opportunities I’ve had and continue to take advantage of them, and really just build a family with my teammates,” Dandola said.
Dandola is majoring in communications and aspires to one day become a sports announcer.
Dandola is only 10 games into her collegiate career with still many more to come.
So far, the Pride have been able to feel confident anytime she gets the nod.
Hofstra could see a bright future with a star pitcher like Dandola on its team in the coming years.