Updated: Aug 20, 2019
by Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor Photos courtesy of St. John Fisher
It doesn’t happen too often where freshmen can step right in and be successful on a college team.
Usually, it takes time for a freshman to get comfortable with school and the college setting before they can really excel in their sport. But, sometimes, there are those freshmen that just step on campus and get it.
One of those freshman was St. John Fisher College softball player Emily Trotman (Mt. St. Mary Academy). Trotman didn’t play like a freshman just trying to fit into the team. Trotman played like an upperclassman who was there for a couple of years.
Even her success caught her a little bit off guard as the season went on. It was a season that seemed like it came too easy for a young lady who was fresh out of Mt. St. Mary Academy in Kenmore.
“Last year being my freshman year, I was surprised because this was my first time playing against college teams and the teams in our conference. I had many great leaders and role models on the team that I learned from the beginning of the season and throughout. It was a challenge at first but it is the same game we all know and love to play since we were little and I would try to tell myself that at times,” stated Trotman. “Often times you have to simplify the nerves of being a freshman or underclassman in a tough situation and keep it simple. The mechanics and everything are the same it is the mental part you have to master to succeed while playing this game and when I would get nervous about being a freshman facing these good teams I would think “See the ball, hit the ball.”
Trotman was the complete player St. John Fisher was hoping they would get. She could hit for average. She had a little pop in the bat and she had speed on the base paths. At such a young age, Trotman was already becoming the threat that St. John Fisher needed to help them compete on the diamond.
But, her skills on the diamond didn’t come without hard work. Trotman didn’t just one day step on the diamond and become the player she is now. Trotman made sure she worked hard every day. She put in the work when no one else was watching.
It all paid off last year as Trotman started 39 of 43 games.
“It (starting so many games) was a surprise to me with the amount of talent we have on our team. I really just tried to look at it one game at a time and build off of each game. We have so many great players on our team that it was good to learn from each other and use that to build our game together as a team. I was given opportunities to prove myself early on and I am very thankful for the amount of time I was able to spend on the field,” stated Trotman. “Learning how to read pitchers and situations at the college level has really helped my game at the plate. Being patient and waiting for the right pitch in a situation is something my coaches have taught me, which is essential to being productive; it isn’t all about crushing the ball. We also have lifts throughout the season and offseason which are important to keep up and build strength and has really helped to add power at my at bats.”
With success, however, comes expectations. Last season, Trotman was able to fly under the radar and opposing pitchers were trying to figure out her game and how to pitch to her. This year, teams will have a book on her.
This is where adjustments come in. To avoid a sophomore slump, Trotman needs to make the adjustments to be successful. She also can’t have the burden of trying to duplicate what she did last year.
Last season was last season. A new season brings new expectations and new dreams.
“Expectations can be both motivators and stressors so balancing these two extremes is important especially in the game of softball. Working hard everyday and “keeping it simple” during the offseason and throughout the season helps to keep the balance between expectations being a motivator or a stressor,” stated Trotman. “I am coming into a different role on the team in my sophomore year, which I am really looking forward to. When I say to keep it simple I mean that I am playing the game that I love; I know what I need to do and I know that I can do it. I also know that I have a great team behind me to back me up. These are the simple things we have to keep in mind when thoughts of expectations creep in.”
Trotman is a bi-product of Mt. St. Mary Academy, an all-girls Catholic school located in Western New York. While playing softball for the Thunder, Trotman made sure she was a well-rounded athletes and played other sports.
Playing other sports allowed her to be part of different teams and culture. It also allowed her to get away from being sucked into playing one sport and getting burnt out.
“Being a multi-sport athlete in high school definitely helped my game all around not only physically, but mentally as well,” stated Trotman. “Sometimes you need a mental break from playing one sport for so long. You also get opportunities to play on teams with different dynamics, which allows you to become a better teammate first. It also helps your physical game, working different muscle groups and staying in shape as well.”
But, it’s softball where Trotman loves to be. It’s also where she likes to cause the most problems for the opposing pitcher. If Trotman gets on base more than likely she will be stealing second.
Swiping bags is something that she loves to do. You could almost say she is like Rickey Henderson. Causing problems for the opposing team is what she was made to do - and she did it very well last year swiping 10 bags.
“I love to steal bases it is one of my favorite things to do on the field. In your head you want to leave the bag when the pitcher’s arm is in the “12 o’clock” position,” stated Trotman. “When the arm goes up by the time your mind is triggered to leave the base, your foot will leave right on time. The anticipation and excitement to steal is what makes you explode off of the base with power. A good jump off the bag is the difference between being safe or out.”
Early success has not gone to Emily Trotman’s head. She is still the fierce competitor that suited up for Mt. St. Mary Academy. While Trotman has been able to adjust to the college game, she knows that there is still more to learn.
And that’s pretty scary.