Andrasik provides instant spark to GV softball

Pete Barrows

For some freshmen, making a small impact in your first year would be more than enough. However, for freshman Sara Andrasik, she has not only helped the Grand Valley State University women’s softball team, but has dominated opposing batters in her first year.

“I like that (Andrasik’s) a power pitcher and can get you some strikeouts,” said GVSU head softball coach Doug Woods. “Not that Hannah (Santora) doesn’t get you strikeouts, but Hannah’s more finesse – Sara’s a power pitcher. It’s nice to have that combination.”

An ideal one-two punch, Santora and Andrasik, who have started in 11 of the 12 games and have paired to pitch in 73.2 of the possible 78.1 innings so far this year for GVSU, are clearly contrasting counterparts. Between the two, they supply a strong sampling of desirable pitching traits – experience and youth, power and control, size and tenacity. Together, they join to bolster and solidify the top of the Lakers pitching rotation.

A common denominator is found in the senior catcher they share, Emily Holt, and for all parties involved, it’s a symbiotic threesome.

“As a catcher here at GVSU, I get the opportunity to work with both our pitchers, Sara and Hannah,” Holt said. “I really like that because it gives me a chance to work on all areas of my catching – the change-up of Hannah and the speed of Sara. It also makes it fun for me as a catcher because with such a diverse pitching staff, it really makes calling pitches fun and gives me the ability to play with the batter’s mind a little bit.”

Santora, a senior, has employed veteran savvy and a well-honed arsenal of pitches, highlighted by a stomach-wrenching changeup, to record 25 strikeouts in her six starting appearances so far in 2013. Andrasik, a 6’0” flamethrower with exceptional range, recorded her first six appearances and five starts of her young GVSU career in Florida over spring break. She has recorded 48 strikeouts, a clip of 1.6 per inning pitched, and racked them up in 12.1 fewer innings than Santora.

It takes time for most freshmen to transition. It took Andrasik a game.

“She had one bad outing in Florida,” Woods said. “Other than that, she pitched real well down there. Got a lot of strikeouts – strikeouts are great. You strikeout, you don’t have to field the ball.”

To go along with abilities advanced beyond her years, Andrasik has discovered balance and a home here in Allendale. Involved in a dramatic, transitioning experience that most would describe as trying and complex, for Andrasik, who has received help from her friends, it’s all been seemingly simple.

“It’s been a really easy transition,” Andrasik said. “Everyone on the team is really supportive and helped make the transition great.”

Endowed with superb physical talents, Andrasik, who tossed three no-hitters and a 17-strikeout perfect game during her high school years spent in Sagamore Hills, Ohio, should not be confused as a one-trick pony. Power and size are her trademark, but Andrasik, like Santora, provides a diverse repertoire on the mound.

“I think that helps that she does throw with some speed, but she does have some movement on her pitches,” Woods said. “Sara can go upstairs on you and can jam you on your hands a little bit, too. When you have the power and the movement, that makes you effective.”

Already proving to be a formidable team, GLIAC hitters, who have not yet been introduced to Andrasik, can safely assume the best from this duo and freshman phenom is yet to come. With a strong working relationship, there’s no limit to how good they can be.

“It’s great working with Hannah,” Andrasik said. “She has the most experience and gives great advice. She always has my back and is there for me if I’m struggling.”

Santora boasts a 2.44 ERA early in the year, Andrasik is at a 1.37 average, which marks good for an astounding 1.91 accumulative ERA between the two. They’ll look to continue their hot start when they open with GLIAC play this Saturday as they take on Malone University.

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