The Slippery Rock women’s softball team have made a solid start to their spring season, already recording eleven wins.
There have been multiple standout performers for The Rock in some thrilling match ups. However, sophomore Kelsi Anderson has proved her worth with a string of quality performances.
Yet despite only being in her second year at Slippery Rock, Anderson already ranks 7th in SRU history in career strikeouts, along with being a two-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) pitcher of the week. However, Anderson isn’t too keen to get bogged down with her individual statistics, and instead, is focused on her team and their chances collectively.
“My number one goal is just to win; I don’t care about my statistics personally,” Anderson said. “We have a very tight circle between the pitchers and the catchers.
“That benefits us all working as a team.”
Compared to any other athletic varsity team at Slippery Rock, the softball team plays a staggering number of games over the course of the season. However, Anderson believes the early games allowed the team to bond successfully.
“We all learned how to play together,” Anderson remarked. “We have a lot of young players in the team so we were able to understand more about each other, the ranges we have and what positions work better with each other.”
However, Anderson also felt head coach Stacey Rice was instrumental in her decision to choose Slippery Rock.
“She is so open hearted and always willing to do anything for us,” Anderson noted. “She is such a great coach, so energetic and practices are very efficient.”
Rice has spent seven successful seasons at The Rock, recording 113 wins for the softball program. Over her tenure, fourteen players have earned all-PSAC west honors, while multiple players have also scooped awards for PSAC west athlete of the year. Prior to being head coach, Rice was an assistant at The Rock between 2012-2014.
The spring 2022 season has so far seen the women’s softball team play a wide variety of teams from both inside and outside of Pennsylvania. Despite rivalries with a number of teams, Anderson notes Gannon University as a personal favorite.
“I love playing against Gannon, that was a really good game for us this year, but I just love playing in the PSAC in general, it gets me really fired up,” Anderson shared.
The team has much young talent on show. So far this year, freshmen and sophomores have not gone unnoticed, with multiple players receiving awards. However, Anderson is quick to mention just how diverse the roster is and the benefits for the team.
“We have a lot of really good upperclassman, ” Anderson said. “We are all going to continue growing as a team and getting better as a group.
“All of our hitting is different and our team has such a great bond; We are all so close.”
Despite softball playing an important factor in Anderson’s choice of university, she feels the major offered at Slippery Rock University helped her sway in this direction.
“The education program I wanted was perfect here,” Anderson remarked. “As soon as I walked on campus, I just knew I wanted to go to Slippery Rock.”
Anderson, who is from Dublin, Ohio, is majoring in early childhood and special education at SRU. Anderson was quick to heap praise on the courses, telling The Rocket how much she has been enjoying it.
“It has been amazing, there are so many opportunities [within the program],” Anderson said. “I have been working one on one with a professor on research.
“I am also in a rock teach program so we are actively recruiting people from high school who are interested in early childhood and special education.”
Through being a sophomore, Anderson’s first year academically was entirely online. However, she was not fazed upon starting in person classes in the fall of 2021.
“From the first week [of fall 2021] I felt at home,” Anderson commented. “It felt totally normal to be here and has been a great experience so far.”
The Slippery Rock softball team will play Clarion University of Pennsylvania in a double header starting at 2:30 p.m. on Friday. The team will then host California University of Pennsylvania (Cal-U) in a double header on Saturday at 1 p.m.