Molloy College softball pitcher Kelly Jansen has a ritual not unlike her male counterparts who throw a baseball. The myth that pitching underhand is easier or not as taxing was easily dispelled in Friday's NCAA Northeast Regional at LIU Post.
Jansen allowed four hits and struck out 10 in Molloy's 2-0 victory over Adelphi. It will be a quick turnaround for Jansen as she is expected to start Saturday at 11 a.m. against Dominican, which received a 12-inning complete game from starter Delaney Childers in a 4-2 triumph over Post. Post (37-20) plays Adelphi (34-18-1) in an elimination game.
"My forearm gets tired because of all the snapping, all the different pitches we throw," Jansen said. "I'll ice my forearm, upper arm and shoulder."
There is some margin for error in this double-elimination tournament; the winner lands a berth in next week's super regional, but no one holds back on their top starters. Waiting an extra hour or so because of the extra-inning game between Post and Dominican made it hard to gauge the pregame warm-up for Jansen.
"It is difficult," Molloy coach Sue Cassidy-Lyke said, adding that her team had to keep stopping and starting its warm-ups. "Just that mental strain and the use of your arm. It's crazy, it's difficult."
Jansen got a run to work with in the second inning when Brenda Lee, who led off with a single, eventually scored on a wild pitch as the ball slipped out of the hand of Adelphi starter Devon Kelly. First baseman Carla Campagna homered off Kelly in the fifth for Molloy's second run. Molloy (43-10) will see Jansen's equal when it faces Dominican's Childers, who lowered her ERA to 0.89 in the first game. Post got two unearned runs in the first inning to take a 2-1 lead. Dominican (38-15) tied it in the fifth on an unearned run and the score stayed that way until the top of the 12th, when catcher Ashley Corral belted a two-run home run off Hayley Beetles, Post's third pitcher.
Childers said her arm felt OK, but not the lower half of her body. She took a hard line drive to the midsection off the bat of Kaci Hopkins in the second inning. "That's why you don't pitch the ball right down the middle," Childers said with a grin. "It comes right back at you. I learned my lesson."
Childers also felt fatigue in her legs. "It's our legs and our hips," she said. "My arm could go for days."
The tournament runs through Sunday, so that might be the case.