|ISU’s five rookies make impact|
|Written by Emily Warner, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Thursday, 12 April 2012 17:04|
Going from being a high school softball player to a Division I softball player is quite the adjustment, but it is one that the five freshmen on the ISU softball team have handled well, even though they have to do their own laundry now.
“It’s been a big change. Being at home, you get home-cooked food, your mom does your laundry,” freshman Kara Repp said. “So you have responsibilities up here and the game is so much faster compared to high school.”
Fellow freshman Lindsey Greene concurred that between softball and living away from home, it is a big change.
“You have to make time for homework, softball you have to excel in that category too, and then you have to do things on your own that your parents used to do for you too, like laundry and cooking food.
“Now you’re responsible to do all that stuff by yourself and then softball. It’s hard at times but it’s fun all at once too,” Greene said.
Of the freshmen, Greene has seen the most playing time from a defensive standpoint, currently starting in the shortstop position for the Redbirds. Freshman pitcher and California native Sophia Perez has also been able to make some appearances for the ’Birds.
“We always anticipate that anybody is capable of performing and cracking into the starting line up no matter what year they are,” ISU head coach Melinda Fischer said. “I think Lindsey has certainly taken advantage of that from a defensive standpoint. Sophia has been really good in the roles we’ve asked her to play this season … I’m very pleased with what she’s been able to do.”
Freshman Kelsey Turczyn has been contributing to ISU’s hitting rotation while learning the outfield position.
“Kelsey Turczyn is probably one of the toughest kids that I’ve had as a freshman in a long time,” Fischer said. “She is a total team player and really wants her team to win and she’ll do anything that you ask her to do to help produce that win or to help her team in anyway.”
Freshman Stephanie Gallant is a native of Ajax, Ontario, making her the lone Redbird hailing from outside the U.S. Although there were some differences with softball terminology, the Canadian says the transition was smoother than most would assume.
“People think it’s hard and it’s so far away. I’m only an eight hour shot away from home and it wasn’t very hard at all,” Gallant said. “I think that the thing that really helped our freshman class at first was the fact that the team chemistry was very good.”
Perez sights her teammates’ availability to help out the underclassmen and their welcoming personalities to helping her adjust. But she has also had the benefit of working under two veteran senior pitchers, Jordan Birch and Megan Warner.
“Getting to see them, you look up to them and how they’ve done and it helps because being able to watch them [shows] what I can do next year and what I can look forward to,” Perez said. “It gives me a good perspective on what to expect.”
All five freshmen have contributed to the team in some way or another so far this season and Fischer expects their roles to grow throughout their careers as Redbirds.
“I think they all five need to be impact players for the future. That’s impact on both sides of the ball, because I feel they have the ability to do that,” Fischer said. “I think they’ve all done well in certain aspects of the game and they are certainly learning a lot and they need to keep moving forward with that.”
For now, the five rookies are just happy to play when they can.
“I’m glad that they gave me the opportunity to [pinch hit] and it’s kind of my role now,” Turczyn said. “I’m just glad [Fischer] gave me the opportunity to do that. I just have fun with it.”