By KEVIN ROBERTS
Dave Majeski was always very involved with baseball from his days on the Southington High School diamond to the University of Florida and then the MLB Draft. But his sports path changed when his twin daughters were born in 1998.
“It was then that I knew I should switch over to the softball world and be prepared,” he said. “My Meghan is now a college softball player at Anderson University, and I have coached collegiately at the University of Florida and the University of Memphis.”
Majeski was inducted into the Southington Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 because of his prowess on the baseball diamond, but over the last two decades it’s been softball that has opened doors for Majeski. But even he couldn’t have predicted the door that opened from the land of his ancestors.
This past December, Majeski was chosen to lead Poland’s Olympic training team, along with the 22U team. Majeski is deeply knowledgeable about the post-World War II occupation of Poland by the Soviet Union, and the neglect for women in sports that came with it.
“The current participation, facilities, equipment and especially the instruction is severely lacking,” Majeski said. “I have the chance to not only raise the level of talent on the national team, but also to change the participation, love and passion for the sport with the younger girls across the country. It is an honor to be the head coach, but my main purpose is to improve women’s sports in Poland.”
Poland has a long way to go to become an Olympic softball participant. Majeski begins his work for two weeks at the end of April, when he will be running tryouts, hosting camps, training coaches, and traveling around Poland to assess the state of softball nationwide.
A softball camp is how Majeski first came across the opportunity with Poland.
“While running a softball camp in Florida, I noticed the Chinese national team training on another field. They had American coaches instructing them,” Majeski said. “Being of Polish descent, I made contact with the Olympic committee in Poland. After a number of interviews and Skype calls, I was offered the position.”
As a baseball player at Southington, Majeski earned three varsity letters, one all-state selection and two all-conference nods. He set single-season records for runs, doubles, total bases and stolen bases, and he set career bests for runs, doubles, total bases, stolen bases and consecutive times on base.
Majeski hit .560 with 218 total bases, 42 runs scored and 18 doubles in 1988 on his way to Team MVP honors, and he was selected for the senior all-star game. All Majeski did after Southington was play four varsity seasons at the University of Florida.
He was drafted by both the Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers. Majeski has coached at both the high school and college levels. Now, his softball resume is starting to look just as impressive.
Majeski said he will return to Europe in July to compete in a tournament in Prague, Czech Republic, then Poland will try for an Olympic spot in the European Cup Qualifier.
You might ask why the former Blue Knight has to go back and forth from his home in Simpsonville, S.C., to Poland? To start, Majeski has a family and a career. Money is also a big issue.
“To achieve my goals, funding is critically needed,” Majeski said. “Financially, I cannot stay longer or go more often. My salary in-country is almost non-existent. I am in touch with many companies to attempt to raise money, or donate equipment, but any corporate leads for funding will be appreciated.”
To help offset the costs, Majeski has set up a GoFundMe account. You can check that out at www.gofundme.com/olympic-softball-team-of-poland
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com