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Sports

April 3, 2013

Yale slugger

Phillips grad Onorato leads Ivy League in homers

Yale catcher Sarah Onorato does not want to carefully decipher why she has suddenly become the Ivy League’s premier power hitter.

The sophomore from North Reading via Phillips Academy is off to a stupendous start for the Bulldogs, who swept Cornell last weekend for the first time since 1996 and are 3-1 in league competition.

Through 22 games overall, Onorato is hitting .419 with 9 homers, 17 RBIs, 21 run scored and 31 hits. She leads the team in all of those categories and is at or near the top in the whole league.

Onorato, who was a rare four-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star, has always been a tremendous hitter, but the power numbers are both startling and something new.

At Phillips, after all, Onorato hit nine home runs in four seasons combined and she only had one roundtripper last year, when she hit a respectable .255 (fourth on the team) despite missing two weeks with a concussion.

What’s happened?

”I really have no idea and I’m not questioning it,” said Onorato, whose home run total leads the Ivy League and is already just one shy of the single season Yale record. “I just want it to continue.”

When pressed, however, Onorato, does have some ideas on the subject.

”Our new coach (Jen Goodwin) has a lot of positive energy and has expressed a lot of confidence in my hitting,” said Onorato. “Hitting is such a mental thing, I think that’s helped me.

”She’s also emphasized an aggressive approach at the plate ... getting an early pitch and going with it. I think that’s better than waiting deep into the count.”

Goodwin is not surprised by the power surge. She remembers watching Onorato bat during fall workouts shortly after being hired.

”I had been analyzing the team and their swings, and she was having a particularly great day in the cages,” said Goodwin. “I asked her how many home runs she hit last year. Her response was: ‘One, and it was the only game my parents missed.’

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