Sneakers to Spikes

<p>GVSU softball vs. Parkside.  GVL / Andrew Nyhof</p>

GVSU softball vs. Parkside.  GVL / Andrew Nyhof

Kellen Voss

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Being a student athlete is a huge commitment, as the juggle of classes, working out, practice, games and a social life can sometimes be tough to manage for some athletes.

In order to keep a cool head during these long seasons, one needs to manage their time well to succeed. GVSU freshman Samantha Gehrls is a perfect example of that, as being a member of both the university’s basketball and softball teams is a big-time commitment.

“I would definitely say it’s a challenge, but I have really good coaches and teammates that have helped prepare me to get to this moment,” Gehrls said. “It’s a big commitment, but I’ve been able to learn time management, and it’s been a good journey.”

Both of these sports have been in Gehrls’ life as long as she can remember, as she started playing softball when she was five and starting playing basketball in kindergarten shortly after. As she developed as an athlete, the Caledonia native found a home in Allendale thanks to the support both programs have given her.

“This is near my hometown and I’ve always grown up knowing Grand Valley, I’ve gotten to know both coaches and both programs pretty well, there’s a lot of great girls on both teams,” said Gehrls.” “I’m also undecided in what I want to go into, so GV has a lot of opportunities for education as I’m trying to figure out the path I want to take, so this is a really good fit for me.”

In her debut season for the Laker hoopers, Gehrls appeared in 21 games and looks to see her role on the team increase in upcoming seasons. As soon as the team lost in the Sweet Sixteen two weeks ago, Gehrls laced up her spikes and jumped right into the softball season head first.

Gehrls has already made her presence felt on the diamond, as the pitcher has earned wins in each of the two games she’s appeared in while also making strides in relief. The freshman has only allowed one earned run in her 10.1 innings pitched; an impressive feat for someone who was grinding through basketball practices half a month ago.

Gehrls had perhaps her best performance so far this past Wednesday, March 27, as she pitched five innings and allowed no hits, no runs and one walk, easily earning the win in the team’s 7-2 victory over Wisconsin-Parkside.

“I did alright, I’m still trying to get back in the groove of things and make some adjustments,” Gehrls said. “I’m just slowly trying to make changes and be comfortable out there.”

Head softball coach Dana Callihan sees Gehrls as a ground ball pitcher who can add to an already elite group of starting pitchers in senior Allison Lipovsky and sophomore Hannah Beatus. Callihan appreciates the dedication Gehrls has shown, as it takes a lot of tenacity to make the transition from basketball to softball

“She’s a gamer, when she’s in the game, she’s got a job to do and she knows what that is,” Callihan said. “Now we’re just trying to get her stamina and in pitching shape. We kind of threw her out there without a lot of practice, but she’s adjusted well.”

Gehrls has shown plenty of potential in her early starts this season, and as she gets into the stride, one can only imagine how much of an impact the freshman phenom can make.