Sami Fagan has found more than success at Missouri
COLUMBIA - Sami Fagan takes batting practice before practice even begins and the extra work doesn't go unnoticed by her teammates.
"Her game, if you asked anyone, would be described as a will to win," right fielder Emily Crane said. "She doesn't want anything to get in the way of what she wants to achieve for the team".
"Every day she's out here like two hours early, an hour on defense and an hour on hitting," left fielder Taylor Gadbois said. "She's a key contributor because she works so hard."
Fagan said her work ethic comes from her father, Kevin Fagan, who played in the NFL for the San Fransisco 49ers.
"My dad has always talked about he got to the NFL and how he just outworked everyone," Fagan said. "He always told us, if we want to make it, that's what we gotta do."
Her father's influence extended to the softball field as a coach. Fagan said he never took it easy on her or her two sisters, who also play softball.
"He was the hardest on us because he didn't want it to be 'daddy ball'," Fagan said. "He wanted people to know that we earned our spot and he was never easy on us."
After starring at Dunnellon High School, Fagan played softball at the University of Florida. Her run as a Gator ended after her freshman year in a loss in the regional semifinal and a dismissal from the team. Fagan said she thought that was the end of her softball career.
"I had never experienced something that hard before, so I thought it was the end of the world," Fagan said. "I was like, no one's gonna take me, no one wants, it was honestly the hardest thing I've ever been through and I still feel the effects of it to this day."
Fagan went on four official visits after her dismissal. She said those visits helped her overcome her fear.
"I can't thank each of those coaches enough for even giving me a chance and wanting me on their team," Fagan said. "That was huge to me and I saw hope in the world again."
Fagan chose to play at Missouri, but she almost didnt' because she would have to sit out a year due to SEC transfer rules. She said Coach Earleywine convinced her to use the year off to develop her hitting, but her teammates knew it was hard for her to watch from the sidelines.
"Just watching the sport she loves and not being able to play the game that she loves would be hard on anyone but especially on Sami Fagan," Gadbois said.
"I think that year was a good year for Sami to grow," Crane said. "It was a good transition for her to sit out, have a year to grow her skills and get to where she wanted to be."
Fagan developed into a power hitter and set Missouri's single-season RBI record in her junior season. She is currently hitting .444 with 11 home runs and 49 RBIs. Fagan said she thinks her transition as a hitter came with experience.
"Just having games under my belt has helped me have a better season this year," Fagan said. "I've developed a better mentality than I had when I was younger."
Although Fagan is in her final year in college, her career is far from over. Fagan was drafted fourth overall by the Akron Racers in the National Pro Fastpitch draft. But, she wants to play, not watch.
"I was thinking about my rookie season and I want to play," Fagan said. "I don't want to sit the bench."
(Editor's Note: Sami Fagan's statistics are updated as of Sunday, May 1.)
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