It goes without saying: Talia Loda is really, really, really good at her job on the softball field. In 14 starts, she’s claimed 12 wins (10 of those complete games), while striking out 63. She’s already 16 K’s away from her career high (79). Her earned run average is a microscopic 0.61. She’s been invaluable to the 2017 Pride’s 23-5 run. But it doesn’t stop at Loda. The team ERA is under two – 1.99. Here is the depth chart behind the 5’2 ace from southern Connecticut:
Marisa Valenti (Freshman) – 3 appearances, 3 innings pitched, 4 strikeouts, 6.30 ERA
Okay, don’t blow Valenti’s 6.30 ERA out of proportion. She’s a first year pitcher who’s thrown only three innings. Aside from the earned run average, her other numbers are relatively low – five and under in each category. One can start with her five hits and three runs (all earned) allowed. In a small sample size, the numbers suggests she’s been really aggressive with attacking the strike zone, and isn’t afraid to challenge the batter. She’s only walked two opponents and has struck out four in three frames (technically she’s averaging more than one strikeout per inning). She’s one of the two underclassmen on a seasoned pitching staff, so keep an eye on Valenti through the next few seasons.
Jordyn Moquin (Senior) – 5 appearances, 1 save, 5 innings pitched, 3 strikeouts, 3.71 ERA
She’s been more of a relief pitcher throughout her Springfield tenure – as Moquin has only started three games. Moquin will also see a significant drop in innings pitched: 42.2 frames in sophomore year, 44.1 in her junior year, only 5.2 innings in 28 games in 2017.
But in her three years with the Pride, Moquin has been effective. She’s never finished with an ERA over four, and has a solid career ERA of 2.87. Much like Valenti, she has allowed less than five earned runs on the year. Moquin also has the squad’s only save on the year, so she can be an option in the later innings, later in the season.
Nicole Cring (Senior) – 9 appearances, 4-1 record, 1 complete game, 31 innings pitched, 18 strikeouts, 3.57 ERA
Cring is a very reliable No. 3 option for head coach Kate Bowen. She tossed a complete game in a 10-1 mercy win against Wis.-River Falls on March 17. She’s got an ERA that hovers around 3.5. Throughout her career, she’s limited the opposition to one hit twice, most recently in a three inning outing against Emerson. She’s also earned five career shutouts.
Her previous three seasons suggest that she will continue to model consistency, and may have upcoming signature moments in her final season as the Pride creeps closer to crunch time.
Shelby Allen (Sophomore) – 12 appearances, 7-3 record, 3 complete games, 55 innings pitched, 49 strikeouts, 2.93 ERA
Allen has played the perfect Robin to compliment Loda’s role as Batwoman. The duo has combined for 112 strikeouts, and has 19 of Springfield’s 23 wins. The numbers for Allen really speak for themselves, the sample size suggesting that she would be an ace on a team that lacks a pitcher of Loda’s caliber. She’s made it halfway to 100 strikeouts in 12 appearances, and has held an ERA below three. Allen is still an underclassman, but she has shown flashes of dominance in the past that suggest she’s just about ready to take full charge of the circle. She’s already turned in a handful of signature performances: a 10 strikeout, complete game victory on the road against Eastern Connecticut State, a no-hit performance against Westfield State last year, and three career shutouts, most recently six innings of shutout ball versus Coast Guard.
Though the team has a group of veteran pitchers, and will be graduating Loda after next year, Allen is waiting in the wings. If she continues at this pace, she will be the next to succeed as the leader of the pitching staff.