Following a highly successful freshman year as the No. 1 pitcher for the Springfield College softball team, Ashley Marino spent her summer honing her craft.
During the offseason I played a lot of travel ball, said Marino, a 2010 Harrison graduate and former all-New York State player. When we came back to school in September, I threw before fall ball started and after that.
Marinos dedication resulted in her keeping a firm grasp on the No. 1 spot for Springfield coach Julie Perrelli.
The fireballing right hander will lead her team onto the field Sunday when Springfield opens the 2012 season against Illinois-Wesleyan in Kissimmee, Fla. Springfield will play 10 games in six days before returning home.
Marino earned the top spot for Springfield during preseason and began her college career with a 13-2 win over Keene State. She started 21 games and had 23 appearances overall, finishing with a 13-8 record and a 1.91 earned run average. Marino registered seven shutouts, yielded 102 hits and struck out 115 in 128 innings.
Going into my freshman year I was determined to go out there and give it my all, said Marino, a physical education major. I found out when we got back from Florida that I would be pitching game ones of a doubleheader. We had two great catchers who knew how to call a game. I had confidence in them and my teammates behind me. I knew if I made a mistake, they would be there to back me up.
Marino was a student of the game each time she stepped into the circle. She took what she learned against each batter and used it to her advantage. Add this with a vast repertoire of pitches and it explains her success.
I got used to going against the hitters and knowing how to pitch to them with different counts, said Marino, who pitched Harrison to the 2010 Section 1 Class A final. As the season went on I got a lot more confident in my pitching.
Marino mastered her screwball last spring and added her own creation, the noodle pitch. In preparation for the 2012 season, Marino has continued working on the screwball and added the back-door curveball to her array.
Last year, obviously, I was nervous because I had to earn a spot, Marino said. This year, I felt a little more confident, but I knew that in order to keep my spot, I had to work 100 times harder.
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