Today: Apr 21, 2024

Freshman looks to continue successful season

Photo courtesy Southernctowls.com
Kelsey Cockrill is 15-4 with a 2.02 ERA on the season.

PAT LONGOBARDISports Writer

The Southern softball team might have found their next ace on the staff, and she has barely been in the circle that long. Freshman Kelsey Cockrill has been a part of a dominant 1-2 combination alongside senior Jayme Larson.

The No. 18-ranked Owls (29-5, 17-3 in the Northeast-10 Conference) started hot this season and a large credit must go to their pitching staff.

Cockrill has burst onto the scene for the Owls this season with her record and her dominant pitching.

Cockrill is a right-hander from Virginia. Cockrill is currently 12-2 overall this season with a 2.35 ERA as of April 12. She has 101.1 innings pitched with 86 strikeouts. She has appeared in 17 games, and started 16 with 12 of them being complete games.

As the regular season winds down in a week, Cockrill said the team has really stuck together with a lot of production this season in different areas to prepare for playoff time.

“I think we have been strong as a team,” Cockrill said. “We have each other’s backs. On the games that [Jayme and I] are off, we complement each other. We pick each other up…We have had several strong at-bats and we have put up good numbers. We have had the offense.”

Cockrill was a team captain at Stonewall Jackson High and she was looking to bring that same leadership to Southern.

Cockrill is quickly proving she is a top, young pitcher in the conference. She has already won conference pitcher of the week and rookie of the week honors.

“My goals were just to have a good season,” Cockrill said. “I was alongside Jayme and I knew that I would be a starter. Our team goal is to make the College World Series and we are still working on that. I want to get better in practice. I just try to get better and to achieve that every day.”

“Our plan for her is to do what she is doing now to be our No. 2 [starter] behind Jayme and to be grooming her for the No. 1 spot after Jayme graduates,” said head coach Lisa Barbaro who is now coaching her eighth season. “We knew that we could bring in a power pitcher. We knew she was a movement pitcher but not with a lot of power. Jayme is our only power pitcher. It has been difficult for teams this season with no breaks.”

Cockrill said she has been adjusting pretty well this season.

“Southern is great,” Cockrill said. “The coaches, the team, the professors are all great. I would not trade it for anything. I have had a good season all year and I hope to keep it up.

SCSU will next play a doubleheader at Bentley on Saturday in Waltham, Mass. The first round of the conference championships begin on Tuesday, April 24 at the highest seed.

At this point in the season, this might be the most difficult stretch with the pressure really on a young pitcher to produce. Barbaro said Cockrill has been up for the challenge so far.

“I think she is having a terrific season,” Barbaro said.

“I can’t say enough about her. She has handled the pressure well.”

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