Eagerly anticipating the arrival of her senior softball season at Riverdale, Sadie Mosher had to endure a slightly longer-than-planned wait.|
However, once she got the chance to step into her new role as the Rams' No. 1 pitcher, this week's Area Pacesetter for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus has delivered a string of performances that made the wait well worth it.
In sparking Riverdale to a 4-0 start -- all wins coming in the Three Rivers Conference to stake the Rams to the early league lead -- Mosher has thrown three straight shutouts. She has allowed just eight hits and has struck out 54. The one game in which she didn't throw a shutout, a 10-4 win over Amboy in the opener, Mosher posted her current high of 16 Ks.
"I was just super-excited to play, and release all of the energy I'd built up from practicing indoors,'' she said. "I'd been working really hard this offseason for this opportunity, and my pitching coach, Fernando Pena, helped me to improve my pitches this past winter. I felt ready to play, like I was going to have good games right from the get-go.''
Being the one senior on a youth-laden Riverdale club was another challenge that stimulated Mosher as she prepared for her fourth season of varsity softball.
"I like that a lot. I feel like I can take on that leadership role, and help the girls in what they can do with their own skills, help them with stuff in practice and with things in general from my own background of playing ASA ball," she said. "I learned from my past experiences here, to try and better myself for the future.
"All of us have worked really hard practicing, and gettiing to know each other. My freshman catcher, Chloe Sullivan, has really improved. I give her rides to practice and stuff, and we talk on the way about what we're going to do, how she should set up, what pitches to call for what batters. We've gotten really close.''
Besides her pitching performances -- which also include a one-hit, 14-strikeout gem in a 5-0 blanking of Bureau Valley and, most recently, a 12-K, four-hit outing in a 5-0 blanking of once-beaten Erie-Prophetstown -- Mosher has also helped herself with her bat. After hitting .333 in three games last week, she was 4-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBIs against E-P.
Mosher's play is an extension of her junior-season success, when she alternated a 9-7 pitching mark (2.73 ERA, 111 Ks) with a .500 batting average that included 10 doubles, 17 RBIs and 27 runs. As a sophomore, she played a key role for the Rams' Class 2A regional-championship club.
"My freshman year, I was the starting shortstop, and even though I wanted the opportunity to pitch every game, being on the field was a good enough experience for me,'' she said. "Last year, (splitting the pitching duties with since-graduated Rachel Wirt) allowed me to show my tolerance for splitting time, but it was difficult at times, what with wanting to pitch all of the time.
"But I knew my senior year was coming up, and that I just had to prove myself for that.''
Riverdale coach Teri Peterson thinks last year's experience sharpened Mosher's focus for the task of finally becoming what she always wanted to be -- the one with the ball in her hand day in and day out.
"Last year gave her the experience, and she's worked hard all summer and winter,'' said Peterson. "Sadie is very determined. She doesn't settle for less; she's a real go-getter. She knew coming in she'd be the No. 1, and she was always up for it. Sadie loves to pitch, and looks forward to every game.''
Right now, it's the opposition that isn't looking forward to seeing Sadie Mosher standing in the middle of the diamond as she continues to make the most of her preferred role.
"I feel like we can take on any team, and I hope to be able to produce wins all of the time,'' she said. "That's what I feel like I can do.''
AREA PACESETTER SADIE MOSHER
Favorite restaurant: Osaka Buffet
Favorite movie: "Forrest Gump"
Favorite TV show: "Pretty Little Liars"
Favorite music: Carrie Underwood
Favorite athlete: Jennie Finch
Role models: ``My dad has been coaching me since I was little, and my grandpa Marty Mosher played men's fastpitch in his younger days.''
Pre-game ritual: ``I always have to have my hair braided, and wear a bow in it, and I have to do the same warm-up routine every time I pitch.''
Parents: Scott and Kristy Mosher, Port Byron
IN THE RUNNING:
Freya Block, Kewanee: Set meet records in the shot put (37-11 1/2) and the discus (127-11) as she swept both events at Princeton's Howard-Monier Invitational.
Tyson Nylin, Mercer County: Had three hits and five RBIs in wins over Orion and West Prairie before going for five hits and seven RBIs in a Lincoln Trail Conference sweep of ROWVA.
Riley Strandgard, Sherrard: Notched four hits and three RBIs in games with Mercer County and Alleman before cutting loose for seven hits and five RBIs in a West Central North softball sweep of Monmouth-Roseville.
Chelsea Eads and Allie Wiersema, Morrison: Eads had six hits and six RBIs in the Fillies' wins over Oregon and Bureau Valley, with Wiersema earning both wins in addition to notching four hits and four RBIs.
Bill Lee Greul, Morrison: Had consecutive four-RBI games in wins over Oregon and Bureau Valley.