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Simple approach serves Cutrona well

by Matthew Ondesko: Managing Editor

Don’t think, you only hurt the ball club.

While funny, there are times when an athlete overthinks and they just get in their own head. They won’t hurt the ball club - so to speak - but they could hurt themselves. Athletes who overthink can get all twisted. They tend to worry about the little things, instead of just going out and playing.

When Keuka softball player Emily Cutrona got to college she wanted to take a more simple approach to the plate. She wanted to do less thinking and more playing. You could say it paid off in spades.

“To be honest, I don’t think at all when I go up to the plate because once I start thinking, I overthink and then I get in my head,” stated Cutrona. “So, during my freshman season, I decided against any thinking, and it got me on base with big hits a majority of the time.”

While Cutrona had success once she entered college, there was still a learning curve. Every freshman goes through it. Some have a bigger learning curve than others. But, it’s till a learning curve.

Cutrona would go on to say her experience in the beginning was a roller coaster ride at times. She went through some things, but was able to learn from the experiences. Cutrona put her head down and just went to work.

The hard work still led to struggles. It was how Cutrona handled those struggles, and adversity, that made her a better person, and player, throughout the season.

“My personal experience with the transition from high school to college was a roller coaster. I went through some consequences which I learned from, and I wouldn’t take those learning moments for granted a day in my life. Some people experience the transition completely differently,” stated Cutrona. “However, I kept my head down, and worked hard and that hard work showed. I think it’s super important as well to emphasize love for the game. Let’s be honest, everyone struggles during the season, and it’s okay because it just makes you more eager and hungrier to get out of that slump. For the first half of the season, I was trying to play like someone I’m not and that hurt me but after I adjusted and started playing how I play everything went right.”

What went right was Cutrona hitting her first collegiate home run. Too bad she didn’t know she actually hit it until her coach told her to round the bases and head home. After the home run, there was Cutrona dancing in the dugout.

I mean what else would you do if you hit your first collegiate shot over the wall.

“Honestly, that was a moment to remember because it reminded me why I’m playing softball in college,” stated Cutrona. “There are a couple of videos on YouTube of the highlights of each game. After I hit my home run, the GoPro captures me dancing and that’s how I like to celebrate. To be completely honest I didn’t even know I hit a home run until my coach was telling me to go home.”

On the field, Cutrona has spent her time behind the plate and at shortstop And, now, has become a super utility player for Keuka. Her athleticism is off the charts, and the coaches wanted to take advantage of it.

Before playing some centerfield this season, Cutrona has been a mainstay behind the plate. Cutrona has been catching for more than 10 years, and it shows. She has complete command of the pitching staff, and is a leader on the field.

“You know catcher and shortstop are very similar. They’re both crucial positions in the infield because they’re both the voice, aka the captain, you must always know what is always happening. Especially the batter and even your team,” stated Cutrona. “It was only my second year playing shortstop, so I wasn’t as comfortable with the position unlike catching. But I gave 110 percent every single time because my coach needed me there because of my speed and my arm. On the other hand, since I’ve been catching for more than 10 years, I’m the most comfortable there because I know my capability and can see future steals coming.”

Ever season there are some sort of expectations. Cutrona is the first to admit she puts high expectations on herself. Keuka has a small team this year, just 11 players, so there will be times things could get rough.

Cutrona knows she is a great player. She wouldn’t have gotten this far if she wasn’t. For her it’s just about not getting in her own head. She needs to just play her game like she knows how. If she does that, the rest will fall into place.

“My expectations for my myself are super high. We only have 11 players this year, so it’s going to be tough, but I just must stay focused and play how I play. I know I’m a great player I just get in my head sometimes and that always messes me up,” stated Cutrona. “If I made a bad play, I have to accept it and move on to make the next one. If it’s a good play, I must keep doing what I’m doing. My tip for myself this season is to reflect on whether it’s good or bad.”

While her stats were there, Cutrona feels like last season wasn’t her best. The coaches felt moving her from behind to play short would help her get refocused. She knew moving to a position she has barely played would help her get that focus back.

Cutrona knew she needed to take control, and try to control the uncontrollable.

“Last season wasn’t the best season, so when I was put at shortstop, I knew I had to take control. I did my best to help my team when something wasn't going the way we wanted it to. It’s a very frustrating job at times but you must stay composed to be able to help your team,” stated Cutrona. “The job of a shortstop automatically brings pressure no matter who you are. You must make split-second decisions, direct the defense, and set an example for the rest of the team. You always must be aware and ready to make the right move.”

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