Senior softball pitcher Deanna Friese on April 8 was named the Summit League Pitcher of the Week for the eighth time in her career.
On the previous weekend, Friese went 1-1 against the Omaha Mavericks, accumulating19 strikeouts while yielding nine walks, six hits and two earned runs in 17 innings. She finished the weekend with a 0.82 earned run average.
Friese has also accumulated the best strikeout ratop in UMKC history, with 9.93 strikeouts per seven innings in 2010. She won the Summit League Pitcher of the Year in 2011.
She improved her 2013 record to 11-9 by going the last three innings of the second game of a 5-4, 4-3 doubleheader sweep of IUPUI on Sunday at Franklin, Ind. In the first game, Friese pitched seven innings and struck out 14, one short of her season best. The Roos improved to 16-17, including 5-3 in the Summit League.
“When I first started playing softball, I wanted to go to the top and play in the Olympics,” she said. “Being named Pitcher of the Year that year totally blew my mind.
“Every time I get named Pitcher of the Week, I think I really am a top competitor and I really can do this. I feel like all my hard work is actually paying off.”
Friese started playing softball more than 10 years ago, and she started pitching just one year after being introduced to the sport.
Originally, she was a dancer when Friese and her family lived in Effingham, Ill.
When they moved to Kennesaw, Ga., where Friese graduated from high school, dance studios were not available. So she took a break from any athletics.
“When I was in eighth grade, I started hanging out at my brother’s baseball games,” she said. “Then I thought I should give softball a try.”
Baseball and softball both run in Friese’s family. Her father and brother both played baseball,her mother played softball, and two aunts were fast-pitch pitchers.
“We would always play together as a family at reunions,” she said. “So I decided to give it a try.”
Friese said the team’s biggest competition in the Summit League is North Dakota State. The home series, which was supposed to be held March 22 and March 23, was cancelled due to inclement weather.
“I’m pretty disappointed we didn’t go at them, but if we make it to conference tournament, which I’m confident we will, we will have our shot then,” she said.
Friese said North Dakota State has excellent pitching, which makes them a difficult opponent.
After graduation, Friese plans to go to graduate school for chiropractic practice. She has been accepted to Cleveland Chiropractic College and also has applied to a graduate school closer to her family in Ga.
Friese has not seen her family since Christmas, a price for her success..
“It’s hard not being around them all the time, but it helps having close friends here and their family becomes my family,” she said. “I get to video chat with my family every night, so it’s not like I don’t get to see them or talk to them.”