By COURTNEY LEWIS
---- — Of the 187 innings pitched by Plattsburgh State this season, Ashley Marshall has thrown 127 of them. She’s appeared in all but two of the Cardinals’ 28 softball games.
The senior has been Plattsburgh’s No. 1 pitcher her whole career, but with two freshmen on the staff this year, the Cardinals (17-11, 7-5 SUNYAC) are relying on Marshall more than ever.
The Malone native admitted that the heavy workload sometimes wears on her, but she added that it’s part of her role.
“I get tired, but you gotta work through it, I guess,” Marshall said. “And I guess it’s kinda my job to do what I gotta do. So I’m just going to tough it out and push through it, and if I gotta pitch a lot of innings, then I have to pitch a lot of innings, and that’s just the way it is.”
If today’s doubleheader at Potsdam follows the pattern of most of the season, Marshall will start one game and relieve Samantha Moss in the other one. Marshall has pitched more innings than anyone else in the SUNY Athletic Conference by far — the next closest is Buffalo State’s Maddie Coneys with 86 1/3. Plattsburgh coach Stephanie Zweig said fatigue is something the coaches consider with Marshall, but it’s not a major concern.
Marshall leads the conference in ERA (1.71), strikeouts (198) and wins (14). She has four losses and two saves and has walked just 22 batters. Last year, she made a career-high 14 appearances in relief, and this season she has already made 13, along with 13 starts.
Marshall said pitching in relief is a little different, but she tries to approach it the same way as starting.
“I try not to think of it differently. I try to keep thinking that it’s 0-0 and it’s the start of the first game,” she said. “Because if … I already threw a whole seven innings and I come in thinking I’m really tired, then nothing’s going to happen. So I just think it’s the beginning of the day all over again and just try to go from there.”
Besides Moss, freshman Morgan Anderson has also made appearances in the pitching circle. Zweig said she’s been pleased with the two newcomers.
“I think both of them have great composure when they’re on the mound, and they understand that this is a process — they’re not going to come in and be the greatest right away,” Zweig said. “They understand the things they need to do, the things they need to work on. Part of that is growing, getting stronger and mentally being able to handle the situations they’re put in. Like Morgan has been put in a lot of situations as a closer, and that’s a new role she’s never had before.”
Moss said the biggest adjustment to college softball has been that it’s a lot more work and practice is much more intense than in high school or travel ball. She’s a self-described “screwball pitcher” and said she’s working on increasing the speed and movement on her pitches.
The Nesconset native, is 3-6 in 14 starts. She has pitched two complete games but averages about 3 1/3 innings per appearance.
Moss has a 4.62 ERA. She has struck out 16 batters and walked 21.
Zweig said consistency is part of the learning process for Moss.
“With consistency she’ll have the ability to throw the whole game,” Zweig said. “She has thrown a couple this year, and those were great days for her and a glimpse of what’s to come.”
Anderson, a right-hander from Johnsonville, has made six appearances in relief, most recently last Sunday, when she came in for Marshall and pitched the final 2 1/3 innings in a 6-0 win over Oswego. She has a 7.0 ERA. Marshall described her as a “junkball” pitcher.
Moss said she and Anderson have benefitted from the experience of Marshall, who’s an All-American and was last year’s SUNYAC Pitcher of the Year.
“Ashley is one of my role models that I look up to,” Moss said. “She’s not selfish in any way; she wants to make the team better. Any time I have a question, she’s more than willing to help out.
“She’s been through it before, so there’s no better person to ask than Ashley.”
Email Courtney Lewis:firstname.lastname@example.org