The definition of a workhorse is a person or machine that dependably performs hard work over a period of time. Stephanie Malchak, JCHS Class of 1990, fits that definition in every way. She was the key piece to a highly successful four-season run of Wildcats softball teams from 1987 – 1990, and she will be remembered for her ability to carry her team both from the mound and at the plate.
Ms. Malchak left her mark on the softball field, but she was an outstanding all-around athlete as evidenced by her nine varsity letters earned during her time at JCHS—two in basketball, three in softball, and four in swimming. Her leadership on the softball field earned the Wildcats unprecedented success for the program and was absolutely a major factor in starting a string of seasons in which Johnson City was factor in the sectional and state playoffs on a consistent basis.
It was in Ms. Malchak’s junior and senior seasons in which she began to dominate. The label “workhorse” was earned during this time as she pitched every inning of every game for these two seasons…over 250 innings combined in the 1989 and 1990 seasons. She won a total of 32 games, and her combined ERA was just slightly over 1.00. In her junior season in 1989, Ms. Malchak earned All-Division II honors as a pitcher as she led her team to the divisional championship. Although she was working tirelessly for the Wildcats from March through June, Stephanie filled her summers with even more softball. Her 15 and under summer teams won back-to-back state championships, and she was able to compete in three A.S.A. Junior Olympic softball tournaments after her teams captured the Mid-Atlantic Regional championship…one in Lodi, CA; one in Boulder, CO, and one in Sioux Falls, SD. Her summer league successes were truly remarkable, but Ms. Malchak put an exclamation point on her scholastic career by finishing with an amazing senior year season.
The spring of 1990 ended up being one of the most successful softball seasons on record for Johnson City, and Ms. Malchak and her dominant left arm were near the top of the reasons why. Pitching every inning of every game, she led the Wildcats to a 20 win season with a microscopic 0.79 ERA. She was almost equally as impressive at the plate as she amassed a .404 batting average. The team won the Division II championship, the Section IV, Class B championship, and the advanced the NYS Final Four for softball after winning a regional game vs. New Hartford from Section III and a quarterfinal game vs. Eden from Section VI. The team’s magical run would end in the state semifinals with a loss to Glens Falls from Section V, but the success from the 1990 season would carry over for the Wildcats in the seasons to follow. Her individual efforts from this season earned her first team All-Conference and first team All-State as a pitcher.
Ms. Malchak went onto pitch for Division II Lock Haven University for two seasons, and she also pitched for several adult fast pitch softball teams. Beyond the softball diamond, Ms. Malchak’s selfless commitment to the betterment of all is demonstrated through her trips to Honduras and Kosovo for humanitarian work and through her 23 years working a NYS Paramedic.
The Johnson City Athletic Hall of Fame is proud to welcome a left-handed pitcher who took the ball for every inning of every game and led the Wildcats to heights they had never seen on the softball field, Ms. Stephanie Malchak—JCHS Class of 1990.