It’s not flashy, and it might sound sort of boring to those who prefer pomp and circumstance.
But when it comes to athletics, few compliments rate higher than being compared to a worker who puts on a hardhat and gives an honest day’s work.
“That’s definitely ‘Maz,’” said Conwell-Egan coach Sandy Hart. “Maz is blue collar. She is the type of kid that makes coaches keep coaching.”
Hart was referring to Becca Maziarz, a senior centerfielder who receives limited ink but truly couldn’t care less.
A team that is led by first-team All-Catholic junior shortstop Shannon Stricker and third-teamers Regina Milburn, Sabrina Graniak, and Gina Massaro only has two seniors — Maziarz and first baseman Rachael Wagner.
As Wagner would attest, being a rare upperclassman in a program such as Conwell-Egan that has seized 10 league titles in the last 18 years necessitates mentoring younger players, all of whom were scheduled to face St. Hubert’s for the Catholic League softball championship on Tuesday, May 29. (At press time, C-E had dropped a tough 2-1 decision to the Bambies.)
“Coach expects us to be a leader on and off the field, and that’s a good thing,” Maziarz said. “You have to work hard for yourself and then work even harder helping the kids who might be struggling.”
The Temple University-bound product of Fairless Hills’ St. Frances Cabrini grade school doesn’t plan on playing softball in college. She said she will focus on her studies and after her freshman year declare a major.
That’s not to imply that she won’t play any more softball.
“I’m sure I will play on an intramural team,” she said. “I don’t think I will totally give it up.”
Maziarz has forged numerous memorable performances, none more impressive — or perhaps important — as her contribution to C-E’s 9-6 victory over Archbishop Ryan in the Catholic League semifinals.
In four at-bats, Maziarz walked, was hit by a pitch, laid down a successful sacrifice bunt, and singled home a run.
The stats might not be glaring, but, as Hart attests, they often make the difference between a team winning or losing.
“That’s why I call her a blue collar player,” Hart said. “It’s the little things.
“She is old school. That might not be the way most players are these days, but it’s the way Maz is and it’s actually the way a lot of our players are. They come to play and come to play hard. You can’t ask for much more than that.”
Conwell-Egan’s motto this year was “Inspired to Stay Alive” because the school was one of several that faced the distinct possibility of closing after this year.
When an earlier announcement of a planned closure was changed, the softball team joined its sisters in a collective sigh of relief.
“Even though I am a senior, I was really devastated that we might close,” Maziarz said. “It was an incredible relief when we found out we weren’t closing. I couldn’t have been happier. I just wanted to go to school and start getting ready for softball.”
Blue collar indeed.
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