Niagara Gazette

Sports

June 24, 2013

Niagara Falls' Toni Polk named Gazette Player of the Year

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — “If she’s not the best female athlete in school history, she’s definitely one of them,” Amoretti said. “She’s good at every sport she’s tried.”

Polk first started playing softball at around 7 years old, she said. As a sixth grader, she “played up” with the 14-and-under Western New York Sting, which she recalls as a special summer for her.

“That was a big year,” she said. “I played a lot of games that summer, and I loved the game. I realized that if I’m (playing up), maybe this could be something big.”

Amoretti coached Polk as a junior varsity player in seventh grade and has seen her progress over the past four years. She also coaches her during volleyball season, and she said Polk’s breakout season came from a change in mindset and hard work.

“She really seemed to have a little bit more fun this year,” Amoretti said. “We worked on a lot of individual stuff, and I think she’s more relaxed.”

Polk prides herself on being a versatile player, and her mother, Rose, said there were days her daughter would go to school at 8 a.m. and not get home until 9 p.m. after practices and trips to instructors for individual training.

She plays third base for the Wolverines, but will play shortstop this summer for the Gold Coast Hurricanes — a showcase team out of Florida that participates in tournaments across the country. She offered to catch next season after the graduation of senior Nicole Terrana, and though it’s not the plan, Amoretti said she’d “probably be very good at it.”

Polk also prides herself on her versatility at the plate.

“She’s fast, hits from the left side, and can bunt or slap or hit for power,” Amoretti said. “It’s very hard to defend her.”

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