The underclassmen of the Mercyhurst University Softball Team have given the Lakers just the spark they needed this season.
Junior Molly McNamara, sophomore Megan Smith and freshmen Lauren Rossi and Annie Truelove have seen ample amounts of field time, filling in voids left by seniors from last year’s roster.
“Newcomers on our team this season have filled spots on the mound and in the outfield,” said senior Kristi Janoske. “They have also stepped up and filled in offensively.”
As a team, the Lakers have matched last season’s win total at 24. One more victory will secure back-to-back winning seasons, despite the number of underclassmen playing major roles.
Six-foot 2 inch Truelove has filled big shoes behind Janoske on the pitching staff. Truelove’s height shows a promising body type to be a powerhouse pitcher.
“Some of the most successful pitchers are above 6 feet tall. Jennie Finch and Monica Abbott are both around 6 foot 4 inches,” said Head Coach Sara Headley. “Her long legs help her to push off the mound further so when she releases the ball she is actually closer to the plate than a shorter pitcher — giving the batter less time to react.”
Janoske agrees that Truelove’s height, determination and drive will power her to become one of the best to wear the green and blue on the mound. She is currently third on the team in ERA at 5.12. Truelove also leads the team with nine complete games out of the 21 she has started.
“Annie is very enthusiastic about pitching, she is always working hard on and off the field,” said Janoske. “She is a very vocal player, and steps up when the team needs it the most.”
Headley believes the best is yet to come for Truelove.
“Annie has a lot of raw talent with room to grow,” Headley said.
The Lakers’ offense has lead to most of the team’s success. Currently, the team is batting over .300 as a team. They have also slammed in 68 doubles and 35 home runs.
“Offensively we have been very consistent, our inconsistency has come on the mound,” said Headley.
With the playoffs up next, consistency will tell just how far the Lakers can go.
The Lakers have qualified for the PSAC playoffs and will travel to powerhouse Kutztown for a double-header on April 25.