Ella Wesolowski and Summer Clark of Williamsville East have been one of the best catcher-pitcher combinations in the state for the past three seasons.
That status won’t change once the first pitch for spring 2022 season is delivered. Their reputation for being a big-game, power battery has been supercharged with Wesolowski’s announcement that she plans to continue her career as a student-athlete at Mississippi State of the Southeastern Conference.
The junior and reigning Western New York Coaches’ Player of the Year made the announcement via Twitter on Tuesday. Wesolowski explained why she wants to join the Bulldogs on Wednesday.
“It’s been my dream ever since I was 8 years old to play in the SEC conference,” Wesolowski said. “I recently attended one of the Mississippi State camps and I immediately fell in love with the campus and the coaching staff. Each coach has something special to offer the girls. … I picked Mississippi State because of the coaching staff I would be surrounding myself with and the small town but big campus environment. I know I will become the best version of myself and be surrounded by the greatest people at Mississippi State.”
Wesolowski said the chance to commit to the Bulldogs, which has qualified for the NCAA Tournament nine times in the past 10 seasons, wouldn’t have been possible without the support of her parents, friends, family and coaches.
Wesolowski’s decision to go big-time follows in the footsteps of Clark, a senior who verbally committed to attend Syracuse of the Atlantic Coast Conference last spring.
In Wesolowski, Mississippi State potentially gets a catcher who can hit for power and average who is versatile enough to play the infield and outfield. Last season, she batted .500 (28 for 56) with five home runs and drove in 27 runs to help East win the Section VI Class A-1 championship. Wesolowski, a team captain, shared New York State Sportswriters and Coaches' Organization for Girls Sports Class A co-Player of the Year honors with teammate Clark, and she was the ECIC II Player of the Year.
For her high school career, Wesolowski is batting .464 batting average (70 for 151), with 65 RBIs and nine home runs.
Two of those homers were booming shots that came during the Flames’ 6-0 state semifinal win in 2019 over Walter Panas. Will East won the state title that season with a flawless 27-0 record. Since 2019, the Flames are 45-2.
Wesolowski played outfield for the Flames as a seventh grader and saw some time last season at shortstop.
“She’s truly one of the best softball players to ever play at our school,” Will East coach Chris Durr said. “This is a big-time SEC school. She feels this is a good fit for her. She wants to play. Some of the other schools that were interested had more catchers on the roster. … She’s excited.”
Durr said Wesolowski’s willingness to be coachable sets her apart from other good athletes.
“She’s very humble about the accolades she receives,” he said. “She’s a great teammate. … Her knowledge of the game and competitiveness are unmatched. I don’t know when the last time a sophomore was player of the year in the section … her intangibles are really what sets her apart.”
The team technically enters the spring as defending state Class A champion because the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020 season. Last season, there wasn’t a state tournament due to the pandemic-shortened season.
Wesolowski, who spends countless hours hitting in the cage and working on catching mechanics, still can’t believe she turned her dream into reality.
“This is super exciting for me and my family,” she said. “This whole commitment thing feels unreal. I am so grateful for this opportunity.”