Born in Austria, 30-year old Denise Orlovits-Zaidan plays softball for the Vienna Wanderers and the Austrian national team. She began playing in 2000 and, in 2001, was already an All Star. A year later she began playing in the Austrian women's softball league at ripe old age of 14. By her 18th birthday she was a permanent fixture on the national team.
During the European Softball Women’s Championship she lead her team in batting with a .333 average that included 12 runs, 10 hits, 2 RBIs over 30 plate appearances.
A pair of doubles helped knock her slugging percentage up to .400 and her 6 walks and 2 HBP provided leverage for her .474 on base percentage. Over the course of the tournament she struck out just twice.
On defense Orlovits-Zaidan posted a .897 fielding percentage with 29 catches, as well as 12 putouts and 14 assists, to offset her 3 errors at short. Of the 11 games she played in she started 10 of them.
Denise has played softball for several years. Over the last 11 of them, she has often been noticed more for what she wears than how she plays. Admittedly, that was the first thing we noticed as well but her skill soon overshadowed her outfit.
When she got married Denise converted religions. At that time she asked the federation to remove any photos of her playing without proper coverage. Both the Austrian and European federations happily obliged.
I was curious about her career and wanted to learn if this transition has, in any way, affected her experiences on the field. I asked her to have a chat and she was more than open to the experience. For that I thank her. She was not only gracious about sharing her life but happy to help me improve my own understanding. As you will see, we had a lot of fun in the process too!