December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Kristin Sito experiences world, extends softball career in Europe

She’s been to the Greek island of Crete, visited the Colosseum in Rome and the Vatican, and she has dined on horse.

Kristin Sito sports an Elyria T-shirt during her trip to Switzerland to play softball.

Kristin Sito sports an Elyria T-shirt during her trip to Switzerland to play softball.

The latter adventure occurred in Switzerland, which is where Kristin Sito, former Elyria High and Niagara University softball star, is spending the summer.

Softball — and not the Cretan ruin of Knossos or grandeur of ancient Rome — is why Sito is in Europe to begin with. During her recently completed senior season at Niagara, veteran coach Al Dirschberger told her about opportunities to play abroad.

“I just kept asking him, ‘Do you have the contacts? Is there somebody I can talk to to get this moving? I would really love to do that,’” Sito said via the miracle of Skype. “He ended up giving me the name of a guy from a Swedish team, and that guy gave me the name of a guy who has a website where players can post their profiles.”

So Sito and her Niagara roommate, second baseman Teresa Healy, posted their information online. They were contacted by several teams and Sito was picked up by the Wil Devils.

“I ended up in Switzerland and she ended up in Germany,” Sito said.

Wil, for those who haven’t been there recently, is an 800-plus-year-old town a half-hour from the Alps. A Swiss website says it is regarded as one of the best preserved old towns of eastern Switzerland, with picturesque timber houses, romantic arcades and medieval alleys. The website said it is the cultural center of the region.

As for the quality of softball, Sito said: “It definitely is not as (advanced) as America, but it’s still good. They’re competitive, work hard and all the girls on my team have jobs so they play softball on top of that.”

At last notice, Sito was leading the team with a .647 batting average and had homered.

“This has been amazing,” she said of the experience. “I love that I get to continue playing softball. If I were in America, I’d have to join a slowpitch team or something at this point. I just love that I’ve gotten to meet all the people I have.

“I’m also really glad I picked this club, because my teammates are great, the coach is great and the family I’m staying with is wonderful,” she said. “They’ve been so welcoming and nice. I think maybe the people are the best part.”

She is staying with the family of Devils catcher Nadja Lehmann. Sito was asked if she faces a language barrier.

“Oh, yeah,” she said, and laughed. “Most people speak at least some English, but even the people who don’t speak English very well can say a sentence or two or understand some of what I’m saying to them.

“One time, we were watching the news and I couldn’t understand what they were talking about. I asked what the newsman was saying and (her host, Peter Lehmann) was like, ‘Well, there was a stuntman doing flips in an airplane and he went in the water and died.’

“So I started laughing and he said, ‘Why are you laughing?’ And I said, ‘because you were so nonchalant about it.’ Then he didn’t know what nonchalant meant because he speaks German, so I had to explain nonchalant to him and it was just a big mess.”

Sito ended her four-year college career starting all 40 games this spring. She batted .255 with six doubles, three triples, three homers and 20 RBIs. Her 30 runs scored were second on the team. She made the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference all-academic team two years in a row and holds school single-game records with three doubles and six RBIs.

She is looking forward to a career in communications, her college major. She worked last summer as an intern for WGN-TV in Chicago and was involved in covering the trial of former Illinois Gov. Rob Blagojevic. Sito arrived in Switzerland on May 25. Her flight home leaves Sept. 27.

Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or softball@bobdaniels.info.