Stepping upWith the graduation of Kirstin Bigelbach, the job of ace pitcher has transferred to Andrea Northey.
By: Eric Lear, The Republican Eagle
With the graduation of Kirstin Bigelbach, the job of ace pitcher has transferred to Andrea Northey.
"She's a really good ballplayer and she had a big role, so I hope I can fill her shoes with the same role," Northey said.
Bigelbach, who now plays at St. Thomas, pitched 66.4 percent of the innings last year and amassed 67 strikeouts with an ERA of 1.42.
Northey pitched the remainder of the innings and even started in Red Wing's section opener. Northey struck out 53 and finished the year with a 2.97 ERA.
"She's definitely going to be our horse in the circle," Red Wing coach Cheryl Borgen said. "She's going to do the bulk of the work for us."
The senior co-captain's hard work in the offseason has put her in the position to be a dominant pitcher.
For the past two summers, Northey has played for a team based in Apple Valley, Minn., called the Eastview Strike. In addition to competing on the traveling squad, she worked with coaches on an individual level once a week from November until the start of the season.
"When you can come into a season already in shape, that's huge," Borgen said, adding that Northey has matured into a team leader.
Sarah Walch, Bigelbach's battery mate, also graduated so Northey will be throwing to freshman Haley Kuhl.
"She's a really good pitcher and (I hope) I can be a good catcher for her," Kuhl said.
When Northey isn't in the circle, don't expect to see her sitting on the bench.
"Andrea's biggest asset for us after pitching is that she can hit," Borgen said. "I'm pretty confident that her bat is never going to be out of the lineup."
Northey hit .344 last year and tied Tesha Buck for the team lead in RBI with 14.
Not only will Northey be counted on in the circle and in the batters box, but her outgoing personality helps with team chemistry.
"She knows how to laugh stuff off," Borgen said. "She knows how to be serious. She knows how to focus. She knows how to goof around when it's OK and I think the kids respect her for that."
Red Wing center fielder Kayla Wallin agreed. She said Northey is one of the more serious players on the team but she also is funny.