BY KYLE BRENNAN
Four years ago, when Samantha Sosnovich was about to start her freshman year at Woodland High, she knew how her peers were building up her athletic prowess. Instead of shying away from it, Sosnovich embraced the pressure and turned success into a target.
“Even before I was a student at Woodland, everyone knew I would make an impact, so I created goals,” Sosnovich said. “I am very pleased and happy with the things I accomplished in my four years at Woodland, and I think I definitely achieved my goal of wanting to leave an impact.”
The recent graduate and soon-to-be Merrimack University freshman leaves one of the greatest athletic legacies in Woodland history. The three-time All-State softball player not only is one of the few Hawks to earn three All-State honors in the same sport, but she’s the only athlete in school history to play in three state championship games.
The first of those state finals came in 2022, when Sosnovich started in the circle against Oxford in the Class M softball championship. In that 4-0 victory, she twirled a two-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts to lead the Hawks to their first-ever softball state title and the school’s first state championship in any sport since 2013.
“The first state championship for softball was crazy,” said Sosnovich, a Beacon Falls native. “I had never experienced something like that. Yes, I have played in many championship games throughout travel ball, and such but playing for your school and your town hits a little harder.”
When she got back to school for her senior year, she was the starting libero in a senior-laden volleyball lineup that not only upset their way to the Naugatuck Valley League championship, but reached the Class M final for the first time in nine years.
Despite suffering a 3-0 defeat, Sosnovich said she’s grateful for the success she experienced in her secondary sport.
“The volleyball championship was another cool experience,” she said. “I really wanted to win another state championship in another sport. Although we fell short, I wouldn’t change that season or those experiences for anything.”
Entering her senior softball season, Sosnovich knew all eyes were on her as the team’s undisputed ace and one of the top players in Connecticut. Some athletes don’t know how to handle the pressure of being placed on a pedestal. Sosnovich had no such problem.
“Honestly, I just kept being myself and playing my game,” she said. “I want to be a role model for younger generations of athletes that want to be in the same positions I have been in and will be in. In some ways, I really enjoy the recognition and pressure because it shows that all the hard work I put into the sport really paid off.”
In fact, Sosnovich said winning the second state championship — a 16-0 rout of Sacred Heart Academy in which she fired a three-hit shutout with 13 more strikeouts — was a breeze compared to the first.
“My second softball title was definitely the most relaxed,” Sosnovich said. “I felt comfortable (because) I had experienced this high-pressure and high-stakes game before. If anything, it was more exciting than stressful to be at UConn and playing in front of a huge crowd of your family and friends.”
That cool sense under pressure came from years of preparation, especially that provided by coaches Pete Calandro and Loren Luddy.
“Having Coach Pete as a coach since I was 8 years old not only prepared me to play in high-pressure games and situations but also to succeed in those situations,” Sosnovich said. “Coach Luddy was also such a huge inspiration to keep pushing when things got a little rough or didn’t necessarily go my way.”
Sosnovich said she hopes her legacy at Woodland is one that proves ambition plus work ethic equals success.
“I hope I have inspired younger and incoming girls to want to make an impact on this program,” she said. “Work hard and the successes will come.”
BY KYLE BRENNAN