Cyclones have hope for young season


Photo: Tim Reuter/Iowa State Daily

Infielder Tori Torrescano celebrates her game-winning home run with teammate Anna Cole. Torrescano’s home run put the Cyclones in the lead and won the game with a score of 8-6.

Dan Cole

The ISU softball team has not posted

a winning record since the 1994-95 season. The team ended last

season on a seven game losing streak and consistently finds itself

falling into the cellar of the Big 12 standings.

This season, fans may have reason to

believe that things will change.

The Cyclones (2-1) return all of

their position players from last season, including Erica Miller,

Tori Torrescano and Dalyn Varela, who combined for a .315 batting

average and 29 home runs last season. If the Cyclones hope to erase

the frustration of last season, the girls said they are the ones

who need to be the spark.

“We’re kind of like the fire to help

everybody get going,” Varela said. “As long as we stay positive,

everybody else has that attitude, too.”

Miller said she and her teammates

are striving to lead by example, and if they do that, things will

go well.

“Each one of us is different and

kind of leads in their own way,” Miller said. “Work hard at

practices, give 110 percent, try to do the little


Coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler said

Torrescano’s already important role is going to be even more

crucial this season, especially on the mound. She said the junior

will be relied on heavily as the Cyclones try to make up for the

loss of graduate Rachel Zabriskie, who pitched over 190 innings

last year.

“We’re going to have to have her

throw, and she’s going to have to be consistent,”

Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “How well we do depends on how well she

does. She’s just that big of a factor.”

Torrescano is, currently batting

.500 through three games, with two home runs and four RBIs. She has

also allowed just two earned runs in nine innings of work in those

three starts.

This season’s Cyclone roster

includes 17 underclassmen, more than any other Big 12 team. Among

them is freshman pitcher Miranda Kemp, who brings with her an

impressive high school resume. The Haymarket, Va., native was a

finalist for the 2011 Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year and was

named both the 2011 all-area and all-region player of the


Ten of those 17 underclassmen are

sophomores who hope to turn last season’s frustration into progress

for this season.

“I think they’ll come back more

knowing what to expect,” Miller said. “That experience of just one

year will definitely help us more as a team.”

Gemeinhardt-Cesler said it is

obvious which girls put in work in the off-season, and she singled

out sophomore Jennifer Drahozal as “the person that stands out the

most” in terms of improvement. The coach said the injury of senior

Heidi Kidwell has allowed Drahozal to go from being a role player

to now leading off and playing center field.

As for the upperclassmen, they too

know who has worked hard to prepare for this season and are

confident that the younger part of the squad knows what it will

take to be successful.

“They realize how important

preseason games are, especially being in the Big 12,” Varela said.

“They’ve worked their butts off in the summer, and it’s showing in

everything we do.”

The Cyclones will play entirely on

the road until March 23, as they set out to record their first

winning season in almost two decades.