Finishing Strong: Honors pouring in for Norman as she wraps up softball career

Columbus North graduate and Marian senior Sierra Norman waits on a pitch.

Submitted photo

As the time winds down on Sierra Norman’s competitive career, the Columbus North graduate is playing some of the best softball she’s played in her 17 years with the sport.

Two weeks ago, the Marian University senior first baseman was named Crossroads League Player of the Week and NAIA national player of the week. Earlier this week, she was selected first-team All-Crossroads League for the third consecutive year.

“Just trying to take it all in with it being my last season,” Norman said. “That’s something that weighs on my mind pretty heavily, so not trying to really focus on my performance. Just trying to go out there and do what I do and have fun.”

Columbus North graduate and Marian senior Sierra Norman readies herself for a play at first base.

Submitted photo

Norman finished the regular season batting .378 with 56 RBIs and a team-leading three triples and eight home runs.

“I thought my sophomore season was my best,” Norman said. “I guess really this season, I haven’t tried to focus on my stats and have taken it game by game. I just want to enjoy these last few weeks of softball that I’ve got. That’s the main focus for me.”

The Knights are 44-10 after winning last week’s Crossroads League Tournament. They’ve won nine of their past 10 games heading into next week’s NAIA Opening Round.

“I think we’ve done really well,” Norman said. “We started out kind of iffy in the beginning, especially in our conference season. But we’ve gotten into the swing of things and gotten into a groove. We hit exceptionally well. We have a lot of girls throughout our lineup that can produce at the plate, and that’s especially good going into the tournament, knowing that our offense is going to have our defense’s back.”

Columbus North graduate and Marian senior Sierra Norman waits on a pitch.

Submitted photo

Marian, which finished fourth in the NAIA World Series last season, will be aiming to make it back there. The Knights are the top seed in the Indianapolis bracket, and on Tuesday, will host the winner of Monday’s game between Aquinas (Michigan) and Rio Grande (Ohio).

The Opening Round bracket concludes on Thursday, with the winner headed to the NAIA World Series May 23-29 in Columbus, Georgia.

“Last year, we kind of were blessed the opportunity to be able to go, and we played well at the end of the season,” Norman said. “We went down there with the mindset that we have nothing to lose. But with the team that we have this year, our chances were equal if not more to win it again. I have a lot of confidence in this team, and I think it’s something we’re definitely capable of.”

Last weekend, Norman graduated from Marian with bachelor’s degrees in physiology of exercise and biology. She is going to pharmacy school at Butler and will pursue a PharmD (doctorate) in the four-year program.

For Norman, who has been playing softball since she was 5 years old, it will be a little different not being involved in the sport next year.

“I’ve been blessed with the opportunity I’ve had to even play college softball,” Norman said. “So being able to look back at my entire experience for the past 17 years, I couldn’t be more thankful.”