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Softball hones skills during fall season

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Freshman Conchetta Rinaldi (Cardinal Mooney) meets with senior Maddi Lusk in the pitcher’s circle during Game 1 of Sunday morning’s doubleheader at YSU.

YOUNGSTOWN — After a disappointing 2019 season, where the YSU softball team finished with a record of 25-29, coach Brian Campbell wants teamwork to be the focus going into the 2020 campaign.

“Just trying to work on, kind of doing their job.” he said. ” ‘We over me’ is what our theme is this year, meaning it takes everyone here to achieve something compared to just one individual. That’s the kind of philosophy we’ve gone into, and that’s what we’ve been coaching as coaches, and as players for the most part trying to get it all together. It takes all of us to achieve something.”

YSU plays a fall schedule of scrimmages against other local colleges such as Akron, Mercyhurst, Tri-C, Gannon and Walsh to get playing time and allow younger players to see live game action.

Campbell has seen positives on the field.

“Defensively, pitching, I think that’s two of the biggest areas that we’re ahead,” he said. “Obviously, we’re going to continue to work on it because you talk about it and then you relax a little bit. You praise them for how well they’ve done defensively and pitching, and you want to stay on top of that.”­

“But I think as the two of our strengths right now, we’re just starting the process of doing a little more breakdown with the hitters. I know it’ll take a couple steps back before you come a couple steps forward with that. That’s the process and we’ll spend a little bit more time breaking stuff down when we get to individuals here in a week and a half with the hitters.”

One of the leaders on the Penguins is senior Maddi Lusk.

Lusk is both a pitcher and an infielder for YSU, and she’s excited for what the team has been doing.

“I feel like we’re building something really good,” she said. ” We all mesh together no matter who’s in there, and no matter the combination, so it’s just something we can use to build off of for the spring.”

She posted a record of 17-13 in 36 appearances during her freshman season, but an injury limited her time in the circle during her sophomore year to only 14 pitching appearances, while she primarily saw time as an infielder.

Last season she only pitched in one game during the regular season, but this fall she’s been looking to bounce back and see more time in the circle.

“It feels really good just to be back out there on the mound,” Lusk said. “I’ve just been doing it my whole life, so it’s actually pretty exciting, and can’t wait to keep doing it in the spring and stuff.”

Lusk embraces her leadership role as a senior.

“It’s nice just knowing that people look up to me for advice, and stuff like that,” she said. “I just don’t want to see it end.”

One of the bright stars of last year’s team was Addy Jarvis, a graduate of Mathews High School. Jarvis broke several records in her freshman season, including setting the YSU single season strikeout record with 218 punchouts, the YSU single game record with 16 strikeouts versus Northern Kentucky, and was named the Horizon League Freshman of the Year. She’s ranked ninth on YSU’s all-time career strikeout leaderboard.

Jarvis learned one big thing during her freshman season.

“To be hungry.” Jarvis said “I think that’s the biggest thing coming in this year, I feel like just myself, mentally, I feel a lot more hungry to go at it, and go harder.”

“Obviously, I went hard and gave full effort in my freshman year, but realizing what we were capable of last year and building off of that and just being extremely hungry for it.”

Jarvis enjoys the recognition, but favors winning more.

“The awards, whatever, that happens, but it’s more of just winning, and we’ve got a lot more winning to do. I mean after the records and stuff, I’m just like, well, we got to win more games now. That’s main thing, is just getting there, and getting to that final game in the conference championship.”

She does see something different in this year’s team.

“I think we’re more aggressive,” Jarvis said. “I just think that even in the box, and the field, we’re less tentative.

“I’m not saying we were tentative last year, but we are definitely more aggressive this year, and I see that in every single player.”

Conchetta Rinaldi, a graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School, is one of seven freshmen going into the season, she’s excited to begin her collegiate career.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “I mean it’s definitely different than what I’m used to, but I’ve had my teammates help me and it’s honestly just been so much fun. I’m so lucky to be here and be able to do it.”

YSU has one more doubleheader at home Friday against Akron and Walsh starting at 4 p.m.