Kimmy Sullivan doesn’t hesitate acknowledging her appreciation for the opportunity to be a student-athlete at the University of Notre Dame.

Perhaps this should work in reverse, also.

Sullivan, who is making it a point to enjoy every aspect of her senior season as a member of the Fighting Irish softball program, couldn’t have scripted a better four years for herself.

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“Honestly, they’ve been amazing,” said the perpetually upbeat Sullivan, a 2013 graduate of Center Grove High School where she was a four-year starter for the Trojans and the program’s career record-holder with 23 home runs.

“I’ve made new friends and had so much fun playing softball. Going to Notre Dame is the best decision I’ve ever made. The people I’ve met are just amazing. It’s kind of humbling to be around so many high achievers, and to be friends with a lot of them.”

Sullivan verbally committed to play softball at Notre Dame as a high school sophomore. She knows all about establishing and attaining goals.

Her double-take-required 4.8 grade-point average at Center Grove earned her the right to be her class’s co-valedictorian. At Notre Dame, she maintains a 3.8 GPA as a science-business major.

Last summer, Sullivan served an internship at Stryker, a company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, specializing in manufacturing medical devices and equipment. She will be employed there shortly after graduating from Notre Dame later this spring.

Sullivan will work in Stryker’s marketing department.

On the softball diamond this season, Sullivan is hitting .240 as the team’s starting right fielder. She also has played third base, first base and been utilized as a pinch hitter since the outset of Notre Dame’s 2014 season.

Her career numbers include a .273 average — including a blistering .329 as a junior — 12 doubles, seven home runs and 44 runs scored entering the Irish’s game today at Louisville.

Now in her 16th year as Notre Dame’s head coach, Deanna Gumpf has enjoyed everything about having Sullivan on her roster.

“Kimmy has really come alive offensively for us. She is definitely someone we count on to make things happen for our team,” said Gumpf, who has pieced together a record of 647-261-1 at Notre Dame to go along with seven Big East Conference regular-season titles.

“She has been a phenomenal teammate because she is truly willing to do whatever it takes to help us win. Kimmy has played four different positions for our team, and we can always trust that she will get the job done.”

Among the many special moments she’s experienced playing softball at Notre Dame, Sullivan said one stands above the others.

In 2015, Sullivan’s sophomore campaign, the Irish hosted an NCAA regional for only the second time in program history (the first being in 2005).

“Hosting a regional was a big deal,” Sullivan said. “We were so excited.”

Gumpf’s squad played a total of six postseason games at its own Melissa Cook Stadium that March, a memorable 42-15 season finally coming to a halt with a 4-3 loss to Kentucky.

Seventeen of Notre Dame’s final 24 regular-season games this season are scheduled to take place at home. It’s an ingrained invitation for the Irish to gain momentum before the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament gets under way May 11 at the University of North Carolina.

Wherever and whenever, Kimmy Sullivan will be leading her team in smiles and positive attitude.

As usual.

By the numbers

How Kimmy Sullivan has fared in her four seasons as a softball player at Notre Dame:

Season;Avg;Hits;Runs;HR;RBI

2014;.222;6;5;0;5

2015;.250;7;9;1;6

2016;.329;26;18;4;17

2017;.240;18;12;2;11

Author photo
Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.