A-K Valley Senior Spotlight: Highlands’ Kassidy Cambal
Monday, April 10, 2023 | 8:56 AM
The start of spring sports marks a fun time for teams. There’s excitement in a new season.
It also means that teams have to rebuild after losing seniors due to graduation. Highlands softball, for example, is trying to rebuild after losing several key seniors. Catcher Kassidy Cambal, a senior this year, is doing her part.
“I feel that this season will be about adjustments,” Cambal said. “There are a lot of girls in new places, and we have a new coach. We lost a lot of key seniors last year and this year, it will be making adjustments and having people step up and be leaders. If we can band together as a team, we will be successful.”
Kassidy is the daughter of Kasha and Ben Cambal. She is the National Honor Society treasurer, senior class treasurer, captain of the softball team and was an all-section player in 2021. She was also a part of the 2021 WPIAL runner-up and third-place PIAA team for the Golden Rams. She has been playing softball since she was 9 years old and plans to continue her softball career with Saint Vincent in the fall.
“I started out with competitive dance and gymnastics and stopped doing that,” said Cambal. “I grew up around all boys, and my dad pitched baseballs with me and one day I told him I wanted to play softball.”
Cambal took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for a Senior Spotlight Q&A:
What do you believe is the hardest part about being a catcher?
I think the leadership aspect. I’m not always an outspoken person, but being a catcher on the varsity level really helped with that. Also, for me, my biggest worry is making sure that everyone is in the right place. We run a ton of different situations all the time but for me, it’s not second guessing that someone will be there to get the throw.
What things from last season do you think need to be improved on for this season?
I think the leadership aspect needs to be improved on as a lot of seniors graduated and this year, we have to fill those shoes. We need to also bring in the team aspect and work together for the team and not individual successes.
How did you become a catcher?
It’s actually a funny story. I used to be a pitcher when I was younger. One day during a rec ball game, the coach said I was catching the next inning. I was really upset by this news, and I told my dad I didn’t want to. After that inning, I loved catching and stopped pitching and made catching my primary position. I spend about 90% of my time behind the plate.
You are known for having a strong arm. Did that come naturally, or did you work at it?
I feel that it’s mainly having a good warmup and learning the mechanics of a throw. When I started doing lessons, I picked up a new warmup routine. I mainly work on my spin and position drills as they are so important so when it comes together, it gives me more power.
What is the key to throwing out base stealers?
For me, it’s knowing that my teammates will be there and not hesitating. It’s a very quick thing to happen, and knowing that they will be there is huge.
What type of batter are you: a home-run seeker, a moving-girls-around-the-bases hitter or a putting-the-ball-into-play hitter?
I’m more of a singles and doubles type hitter, and I look to move the runners around. I used to be a power hitter and was known for how powerful I was. But I since then changed my swing, and now I put the ball into play and move people around.
Tell me a little bit about the two playoff runs you got to experience with Highlands.
My sophomore year, it was a very special experience and my favorite year of softball. I made a lot of new friends and learned new things from the upperclassmen. It’s something I never experienced, and we worked together as a team. Last year, we really lacked the team bonding aspect and we didn’t line up. We let off the gas when we needed to go harder, and we needed to implement that factor for the entire game.
You lost your freshman year due to the covid-19 pandemic. How did that change you as a player?
For me, it was super beneficial. I got a lot of one on one with my travel coach and dad and I got into lifting and training. I started growing up into the player I wanted to be and taking things seriously. However, I feel that the covid-19 pandemic affected the recruiting process and still will for years to come.
You recently committed to Saint Vincent. Tell me a little bit about your recruiting process and what you expect to come out of collegiate softball.
It was a stressful time, but I am thankful for it. I’m bad at making decisions and was nervous I was going to make the wrong decision. But I made the best decision for me, and the coaches and team have been so welcoming to me. I think that this level of softball will bring out the competitiveness that sometimes I need to push myself. I love a good challenge, and I think that the other catchers and players will challenge me.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to go through the recruiting process?
Be patient and stay on top of everything. The coaches you are emailing are busy, but make sure you don’t just email them once. They read your emails. Trust the process. On the field, hustle and attitude is so critical, especially if they come to watch you.
Tell me a little bit about travel softball.
I have played for the Pittsburgh Predators for seven years and that’s the only team I’ve ever been on. I had a lot of different coaches and there are only two original girls (me and another girl) left as many come and go. My dad is coaching this year, and I’m excited to finish out with him.
What does softball mean to you?
It is the most important thing to me besides my family. It taught me hard work and dedication, the ups and downs of life and how to deal with different situations. It also made me realize that the lowest of lows can bring the highest of highs in a matter of minutes.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to leave with your teammates?
Enjoy the game while you can. My time with travel softball is at an end, and I am grateful for the memories I made. I’m looking forward to college softball, but just enjoy the moment.
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