BLANDING — Sunny Su’e Su’e is not going to bother fixing her damaged back fence for a couple of years.
Why would she when the softballs her teenage daughter throws at it are only getting more powerful?
“She started pitching when she was 8,” Sunny Su’e Su’e said of her daughter, San Juan sophomore Tatiana. “She would throw outside for hours. Our back fence is bowed from her pitching at it. Her dad went out and caught for her when she was younger, but if he couldn’t (catch), then she’d just throw at the fence.”
Genetics ensured Tatiana Su’e Su’e was probably going to be a gifted athlete, as both her parents played college sports. But hard work is what’s made her one of the state’s best softball players.
“I remember when Tatiana was in third or fourth grade, she was down at the field all the time working on (pitching),” said San Juan head softball coach Craig Swenson. “She just has a great work ethic. She always wants to get better.”
Su'e Su'e's athletic ability, dedication and leadership helped her lead the Broncos to a 2A title in thrilling fashion, and as a result the sophomore has earned the title of Deseret News Ms. Softball for 2013. She was the centerpiece of her team’s defense and the home run leader on offense, finishing the season with 16, including a game-winner in the 2A state quarterfinals. Her team broke a state record with 45 home runs.
Every player dreams of winning a state title, but it became a mission for Su’e Su’e as she spent more time with the Broncos' four seniors.
“She just kind of bonded with them,” said Swenson. “She really focused herself, and she really wanted to help the seniors win this. They’ve became close throughout volleyball and softball, and they just really came together.”
Sunny Su’e Su’e said her daughter's affection for the seniors started with how they embraced the younger player, who also starts for the school's volleyball team.
“They’re a great group of girls and she said they deserved it,” said her mom. “And she just wanted to do everything she could.”
And when one is as talented as Su’e Su’e, that’s quite a bit. Her ability — and her determination — were never more obvious than in the state championship game when the Enterprise Wolves took a 3-1 lead over San Juan in the fourth inning. In the midst of the Wolves’ run, coaches called a timeout and talked to the team in the pitcher’s circle. For Su’e Su’e, however, the most motivating words came from her senior teammates.
They expressed confidence in her, and she knew what she had to do. While it looked like the Wolves might finally get the best of the top-ranked Broncos, Sunny Su’e Su’e knew the team would rally.
“I was worried for a while,” said Sunny of the fourth-inning run. “I’d never seen (Tatiana) that upset before. That was the first time she wasn’t able to take some deep breaths and pull herself out, relax and have fun. But I also could see the determination in her eyes and her facial expression. I knew that she was going to do it.”
Su’e Su’e did just that as she and her defense kept the prolific Enterprise offense quiet the rest of the game. Su’e Su’e scored the game-winning run when senior Lexus Latham hit a single that ended the game in San Juan’s favor.
“She relied on the seniors,” said Swenson. “They really helped calm her down.”
Su’e Su’e has only become stronger and more mature this season.
“She came a long ways, and she’s really grown up this year,” said Swenson.
She became a player that others could rely on, regardless of the situation.
“She’s a leader,” said Swenson. “She is pretty outgoing, aggressive and very friendly.”
Her mom said she’s also thoughtful, humble and “tenderhearted.”
“She gets along with anyone and everyone,” said her mom. “She’s very driven and works hard for what she’s accomplished. She works hard on her own, throws whenever she can, and she always wants to win. She wants to be the best at everything she does.”
She’s an honor student who also spends a lot of time helping the younger players in Blanding.
“She’s constantly down working with the youth in our town,” said her mom.
While her talent and competitive drive made this season a thrill for everyone in Blanding, it was even more enjoyable for those who know Su’e Su’e best.
“She was fun to watch all season,” said her mom. “She was thankful for her teammates, her coaches, and very grateful to her grandparents and great-grandparents. They always recognized them and was really appreciative.”
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