Devyn Dydak thought about giving up softball.
Instead, she got serious.
A few years back, after the pitcher had hit a wall in her development, she thought about turning in her glove and focusing on other things. After some serious discussions with her dad, she decided she would work harder and try to be the best pitcher she could become.
“I was getting really frustrated,” said Dydak, a sophomore at Nazareth Academy High School. “I just didn’t think I was getting any better. Softball is hard because if you want to do it (at a high level), you really have to work at it, and you have to figure it out. It’s tough.”
Dydak’s efforts have paid off.
She now has five pitches at her disposal and she’s the №1 pitcher on a Nazareth team that has high hopes this spring.
Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and now Dydak is throwing very well.
“It’s definitely going better,” Dydak said. “I worked really hard to learn more pitches. It’s not impossible to learn a new pitch, but it’s very hard. You have to practice it a lot. I worked really hard on it. I worked with my dad. He is my catcher when I’m not playing with my pitching coach. He does a good job.”
That’s not the only time Dydak works with her father, Glenn.
When she’s not playing softball, Dydak is an accomplished piano player. In fact, she recently took part in a recital at her school with her father, who plays the clarinet, the saxophone and the flute.
“My dad is very good, I just tried to keep up with him, he’s a great musician,” Dydak said. “It was a lot of fun. I love playing the piano, music is something I’ve been doing since kindergarten.”
Music is a passion, but it is one that requires a lot of work.
Like softball, Dydak improves because she puts a lot of time in. But at times, it can be difficult having two hobbies she takes very seriously.
“I don’t practice (the piano) as much as I should during softball because I’m always busy during the season,” Dydak said. “I will make up for it during the summer, I’ll work at it more. I usually do a lesson once a week. I have to get that in. But you need to practice if you want to get better.”
Look how far it’s gotten her in softball.
Behind their ace pitcher, the Pandas are playing much better this year. The team is young, including the sophomore on the mound, but that doesn’t mean expectations are lowered. In fact, they’re higher than they were a season ago, when Dydak pitched mostly on the junior varsity team, but mixed in some varsity time at pinch-runner.
Having the ball gives her a much different outlook.
“I like pitching, especially on this team,” Dydak said. “We all want to win. We all are playing to win. And we’re doing it because we all get along. That’s the best part about playing with this team. We all want to win, but we’re out there to have fun. Winning is fun, but when we don’t do great, we all help each other.
“It’s fun to pitch on a team like that. It’s good when everyone gets along with everyone. And it makes the pitcher’s job easier because we all try to make plays for each other.”
According to Dydak, who bats seventh in the lineup, this team is willing to give up a few points on its batting average to move a runner along. The main goal isn’t to play well as an individual, it’s to play well as a Panda.
“I know we’re young, but we think we can win this year,” Dydak said. “So far, we’ve been playing really well. And we’re having fun.”
And when she’s not practicing the piano or working on a new pitch, Dydak is out having fun with her mom.
Sure, her mom doesn’t share her softball passion (although she does go to every game she can), and she’s not much of a musician, but she still shares interest with her daughter.
“We do a lot together, we always do things like go shopping,” the Bensalem resident said. “And I look like my mom. I’m lucky because both of my parents are very supportive. I do things with my dad and I do things with my mom.”
Now she just wants to win with her team.
“We are doing really well now and we have a chance to keep getting better,” Dydak said. “We’re playing for each other and we have a chance to have a really good season. It’s exciting.” ••