By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Temple softball team is coming down the home stretch of the regular season, looking to gain momentum as the postseason approaches.
Leading the way for this Temple team is junior catcher/first baseman Stephanie Pasquale who has put together an outstanding campaign. The Pompton Lakes, New Jersey native leads the Owls with a .448 batting average, 67 hits, 19 doubles and 63 runs batted in. She is tied for the team lead with 13 home runs.
“I think I’m playing to my potential, like I did my freshman year,” Pasquale recently told KYW Newsradio. “Even last year, even though I wasn’t doing as great, but I think all three years I’m playing to how I should be playing.”
Listen To Podcast With Stephanie Pasquale:
Pasquale’s performance this season is made even more impressive when you consider she is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
“I’m not 100% yet, I get sore constantly,” Pasquale says. “It’s been a battle, and hopefully during the offseason I’ll be able to heal up for my senior year.”
Pasquale set the Atlantic 10 record for RBI in a season over the weekend and with more than a full season still to play in her career, the all-time Temple records in hits, doubles and home runs are in sight. She already holds the program’s career mark in RBI and batting average. Even with all these numbers, perhaps her most impressive statistic is her strikeouts – or more accurately her lack of them.
In 48 games this season, Pasquale has struck out … twice. And that makes her the hardest player in the country to strikeout. This is actually nothing new for Pasquale. In her career at Temple, she has seen a third strike a grand total of 14 times in 423 at-bats.
“Even when I was a little kid I never really struck out a lot,” Pasquale says. “I guess that’s just how I am. I hate striking out.”
Her head coach, Joe DiPietro, says the lack of K’s is not an accident.
“She has a really good eye and I think it’s to the point now that she knows what’s a strike and what isn’t,” DiPietro tells KYW Newsradio. “She doesn’t chase a lot of bad pitches, (sometimes) she will, but she won’t do it with two strikes. She’s smart enough with two strikes to shorten up her swing a little bit to make contact where she’s still driving the ball and getting base hits, not just to put the ball in play.”
Listen To Podcast With Joe DiPietro:
And DiPietro enjoys being able to write Pasquale’s name into the lineup card every day.
“She hits for average and she hits for power,” DiPietro says. “If they try to pitch her away, she’s good enough of a hitter to take the ball the other way for a single or a double. If they throw the ball inside, she’s strong enough to turn on it and hit it out of the park.”
The incredible numbers for Pasquale have garnered her a lot of attention, some on the national level. But she is trying to take it all in stride.
“It’s nice to be recognized on such a level like that,” Pasquale says. “I think it’s good because it gets my name and Temple’s name out there. Shows we have a good program.”
Pasquale and Temple have won four straight to improve to 26-22 and they will return to action on Tuesday when they visit Iona for a double-header.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.