The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Catcher talks about being a black belt in Q&A

Patrick Schmitz
Freshman catcher Sophia Olman catching a pitch on Saturday April 20 2024 against Tennessee Tech.

Freshman catcher Sophia Olman discussed how she is a second-degree black belt and why she ended up choosing Eastern. 


Q: When did you start playing softball? 

A: “I started playing softball around 7 years old. I started a little later than some of my friends but got to the same place as them.” 

Q: Why did you start playing softball? 

A: “I started playing softball because my dad was an athlete and he was like, ‘I played baseball as a kid, and then I played slow pitch when I got older.’ So, he pushed me to try it. So, I tried it and I started to like it. So, he kept putting me back in the rec leagues until I got to travel.” 

Q: What is your goal for the season at this midway point? 

A: “I think just focusing on the team’s plan. Like you got to trust the coaches and especially the preparation you put in for every series, like our series versus USI this weekend. It’s definitely a big one. So, we just have to trust all the work we’ve put in this week and all the coach’s plans they have.” 

Q: Did you play any other sports as a kid or was it just softball? 

A: “I actually am a second-degree black belt in karate.” 

Q: How did you get into karate? 

A: “My mom just wanted me to defend myself if there was something to happen. So, I’ve made it all the way up there. It’s always cool when no one expects me to say that.” 

Q: Why do you play the catcher position? 

A: “Actually, funny story. My dad wanted me to be a third baseman full time. But when I was in rec ball, it was boring because people don’t hit the ball anywhere. So, I thought why not be a catcher because they get to do everything every pitch. So, I just decided to do it because it’s always action filled and you’re always doing something.” 

Q: If you had to play another position, what would it be? 

A: “Probably shortstop. I just like to be a captain on the field and get to move around and make cool plays.” 

Q: Do you have any pregame rituals? 

A: “I always put my left cleat on before my right cleat. So that’s what it is for me. Or with my hair, if I have a bad day in one hairstyle, I’ll switch it the next day, so hopefully it’ll change something.” 

Q: How did this ritual start? 

A: “I just started doing it because I remember in our super sectional game in high school, I did it before that game and we were playing Whitney Young. And they had a really good pitcher who went on to pitch at Wisconsin. And we were ready for her. She was a rise ball pitcher. We were ready. But my first at-bat was not a very good at-bat. And then I came up in the sixth with bases loaded and nobody out and hit a double over the left fielder’s head and scored all the runs. So that’s pretty much where it started.” 

Q: What are your pregame and post-game meals? 

A: “Oh gosh, pregame. I like to keep it light just so I can move around. So, granola bar, something light like a sandwich, something like that. And then postgame, probably Mi Casa. It’s the Charleston Chipotle so I gotta go.” 

Q: What is the hardest part about being a catcher? 

A: “Getting beat up. If someone fouls it wrong, it goes into your head. It goes where the pads aren’t. So definitely just getting beat up and I think also learning your pitcher’s tendencies is pretty tough sometimes too.” 

Q: Pancakes or waffles? 

A: I gotta go pancakes. My mom makes really good pancakes, so I’ve always been a pancake girl.”  

Q: Do you think the earth is flat or round? 

A: “Definitely round.” 

Q: Did you have a softball or baseball player that you looked up to when you were younger? 

A: “Growing up, my dad always had me watching José Abreu because he could literally hit any pitch ever. So, my dad was always like, watch how he went down for this ball. Watch how his hand stayed up. Probably José Abreu.” 

Q: Favorite baseball team? 

A: “White Sox.” 

Q: What is your favorite part about Eastern? 

A: “That’s a tough one. Probably just the atmosphere. There’s a lot. It’s like a family atmosphere, even if you don’t know other people. You walk around, people say good morning. The staff says good morning. Students say good morning. That was one of the things that drew me here when I came on my visit because I had a couple of other visits lined up and this was my first one. And I didn’t even go on any of the other ones because I was like, this is the place I want to be. The family atmosphere is so good. And you can really see it at the volleyball games and the basketball games because everyone is so close.” 

Q: Why did you choose Eastern? 

A: “Definitely coach Tara [Archibald]. I knew she was going to push me to be better than I was. And I’ve definitely seen a difference in my game and my mental game as well.” 

Q: Would you rather get the final out or hit a walk-off hit? 

A: “Hit a walk-off. Yeah, it’s definitely way more hype than getting the final out.” 

Q: What teammate would get the AUX? 

A: “Oh, probably Karson Davey. She’s got playlists for every mood. We hit to country. We hit to rap. We hit to R&B. We’ve got everything when Karson’s on aux.” 

Q: What is your favorite season? 

A: “Probably summer. I like to be on the lake, go to visit my grandparents, stuff like that. So yeah, probably summer.” 

Q: What would you tell your younger self? 

Q: “Oh, probably you can do it, don’t doubt yourself and prove the people who did doubt you wrong.” 


Patrick Schmitz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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Patrick Schmitz
Patrick Schmitz, Sports Reporter
Patrick Schmitz is a freshman sports media relations major. This is his first year at The News. 

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