Throwing the distance
Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 17, 2001
NEW RICHLAND – According to coach Wendy Schultz, pitching depth was not in abundance for the 2001 New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva softball team.
Sunday, June 17, 2001
NEW RICHLAND – According to coach Wendy Schultz, pitching depth was not in abundance for the 2001 New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva softball team. As it turned out, none was needed.
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Erin Anderson saw to that.
The right-hander pitched all but four of the Panthers’ 121 innings, registering numbers that would be impressive for any varsity veteran; Anderson’s a freshman. She also led the 13-6 Panthers in several offensive categories and was a defensive and base-running standout.
Add up her numbers and it makes Anderson the Tribune’s 2001 Softball Player of the Year.
At times, Anderson was literally unhittable. She threw six no-hitters, one of them against Gopher Conference champion Blooming Prairie, which was one of only three teams to defeat eventual Class A state runner-up Lyle/Austin Pacelli. She struck out 153 batters and walked 62, posting an earned run average of 1.91 while holding opponents to a batting average of .111.
At the plate, Anderson batted .359 with 23 hits, 19 runs, five doubles, one triple, one home run, 23 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, an on-base average of .507 and a slugging percentage of .516. She had a fielding percentage of .982 – one throwing error – with 43 assists and 11 putouts. She played all 121 innings.
This was the second straight All-Area season for Anderson, who as an eighth-grader pitched every inning and batted .317 as the Panthers finished 9-8.
Schultz attributed Anderson’s improvement on the mound to her mastery of a change-up.
&uot;I think her change-up really helped her, and she just got so much faster from last year,&uot; said Schultz. &uot;It also seems like she had more confidence out there this year.&uot;
In one game, against Medford, Anderson struck out 12 of the 16 batters she faced. Two or three of the other four outs, according to Schultz, were weak grounders back to Anderson.
&uot;She just fielded it and threw it over there,&uot; said Schultz. &uot;She’s just tough.&uot;
And, according to Schultz, she has a strong work ethic to go along with athletic ability.
&uot;Her parents are both good athletes,&uot; said Schultz. &uot;She has so much drive and determination. She’ll do anything to get better.&uot;
And Schultz is particularly pleased about one fact: &uot;It’s just awesome that she’s just a ninth-grader.&uot;