Locals make immediate impact with Alfred State softball
As they started their college softball careers Troy graduate Katie Jackson and Northeast Bradford grad Aubri Mosier weren't sure exactly what to expect.
Both had successful seniors years in high school, but neither knew how much they would be able to contribute as freshmen at Alfred State.
"I wasn't sure what to expect when I first came into it," Jackson said. "It was good to be able to come right out and help the team the way I have."
Both players came right in and had a big impact, with Mosier hitting a team high .426 with a team-best 32 RBI. She led the team with 13 doubles, tied for the lead with two home runs and was third on the team with 22 runs scored. She was named the team MVP, and earned second-team All-Region III honors.
Jackson was third on the team with a .336 average, and she led the team with 36 runs scored, earning the team defensive leader award.
In high school Mosier sat for a long time before working her way into the lineup, so it was a big change getting a chance to star as a freshman in college.
"In high school I sat for three years pretty much," Mosier said. "I got my chance my senior year. In college I thought it would be similar to that, but I am glad I got opportunity I did."
Mosier thinks it shows just how good the competition was in high school.
"I think it shows that not just me, but Katie as well come from an area that have superb high school athletes," Mosier said. "I never really stood out in high school. I am not sure about Katie, but now both her and I the coaches and other players know who we are. Playing against people like Bri Jennings (of Wyalusing) and Alison Wickwire (of Towanda), those are pretty good athletes there, you have to work a little harder to stand out."
Both players thought the talent in high school helped prepare them for college, but there were some big things to get used to with college softball.
"I think the competition has been a little harder, but we had some good competition in the NTL too," Jackson said. "We had to travel a lot farther here for games then we did in high school though."
The one big adjustment was playing a lot of doubleheaders in college.
"That was difficult to get used to," Jackson said. "You would get done with the first game, and realize you have another game to play."
After knowing all the players on other teams in high school, it took a little getting used to pitchers that the players hadn't seen before in college.
"You kind of just have to get up there and go with it," Jackson said. "Sometimes coach would let us know what the pitchers had, if they are good or not, but basically you just go for your first at bat and get used to what they are throwing."
And there was the need to balance college athletics with academics.
"This semester was harder than it was last semester, there was a lot going on," Jackson said. "I did a lot of homework on the softball bus."
One of the things that both players had to get used to was going from high school teams that competed for league titles to a college team that didn't have the same success this year.
"It was really a change going from Northeast, where we had pretty much an unbeaten season last year, to a team now where we are pretty much all freshmen and sophomores," Mosier said. "It's a change not winning all the time."
That's something that Mosier hopes will change now that Alfred State has been accepted to become a Division III program.
"Going Division III will be great," Mosier said. "I think Katie is here another year, maybe two, I will be here for four years. Coach will be able to have kids come in for four years now. His goal is to have a Troy or NEB type team with that kind of success in college. I knew there was some talk about it (going DIII), when coach offered spot, but I really didn't know how close they were to actually being DIII until coach appointed me to the student/athlete advisory committee.
"Having better competition I'm excited for it. Now we will be able to bring girls in for four years versus two, it's a lot easier to build a team now. Now we are not just a junior college in DIII, so more girls will be open to the idea of coming to Alfred to play."
One thing that helped both girls in their freshman year was having the other one there.
"It was nice to have Aubri on the team," Jackson said. "It was fun because we used to be rivals and now we are on the same team. Now when she does good or I do good we enjoy it more.
"The first day I got there I didn't know anyone, because I didn't get to play Fall ball. It was kind of intimidating because I didn't have any friends on the team, so it was good to know Aubri. I have made a lot of good friends on this team this year though."
"I think it helped a lot," Mosier said. "We didn't necessarily know each other, but we knew who each other were, that helped a little bit. Troy and Northeast we were a little bit of rivals, both our teams were pretty competitive with each other. We kind of took that competitiveness from high school together and tried to use it to beat other teams."
While they just started their college careers, with the success they had the two know they will be looked at as more of leaders now.
"Coach sat down with me a few times and he kind of looks at me as a team leader, and wants me to do a little more than what I do," Mosier said. "I am not a real vocal leader. He kind of already looks at me like that though, my performance I had this year also helps make him look at me as a leader. I am excited, I am kind of wishing next year was already here."
Coming from a team that was loaded with veteran players in high school, this is a new experience for Mosier to be a vocal leader.
"It's definitely a little different," she said. "I did step up, some games I did try and motivate people. Some girls come from schools where winning was not a goal. I play and have a very competitive personality, I take it a little more seriously sometimes. I try and push others sometimes."