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Sato brings Baseball Background to Coyote Softball Team

Only a sophomore in college, Kalina Sato has had to make some big adjustments a few times in her young life.

3 - Kalina SatoThe Weatherford College softball player began her life in Southern California. Then, she was raised in Hiroshima, Japan. Five years ago, she and her mother moved back to America, where she became a softball standout for Plano West High School.

Oh, and while in Japan, she played baseball. She was not introduced to the game of softball until she returned to the United States.

"I played baseball my whole life in Japan. I started playing softball when I was a junior in high school," she said. "The ball size is different, so it was hard to throw."

But she clearly figured the game out. While at Plano West she became an all-district standout. Now, she is in her second season as a utility player for the Weatherford College Coyotes, emerging as one of their top players.

"Kalina is a huge asset to our team. She is leading the team offensively right now, and her defense has always been super solid," Coyotes coach Haylee Williams said. "She probably has the best hands I've ever seen in a person, and definitely the best we have had in our program.

"You can definitely see the Japanese influence when you watch her field a ground ball. She is also a fantastic catcher, which has been a huge help defensively both years she has been here."

Williams said Kalina brings an entertaining attitude to the team.

"She is so fun to have on the team, has such a wonderful personality and a great work ethic," Williams said.

Kalina said though she was born in the U.S., there was plenty to learn upon her return. In fact, she said one of the main reasons she and her mother moved here was to learn the language and culture first-hand. She returns to Japan to visit her siblings once a year.

"It is so different here . . . school, language, people, and the cities," she said. "The first year, I couldn’t make any friends, but when I started softball, I made a lots of friends. Playing softball here has given me everything, friends, excitement, learning English."

Kalina used to also play volleyball and soccer, but she realized softball was her best chance at playing in college. She said she chose Weatherford College because, simply, "the coaches are nice."

"People in Weatherford are really nice, and I wish Weatherford College was a four-year school," she said.

But it is not, and though she'd love to stay (and certainly Williams would love to keep her) she will move on after this season. She wants to someday help others get the joy out of sports that she has found.

"I want to go to a (NCAA) D1 school. I’m contacting other schools right now," she said. "I'm undecided on my major, but I’m thinking that I want to study sports marketing or coaching."

by Rick Mauch