The Saint Anselm College softball team is off to a 13-7 start this spring and one of the primary reasons is former Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln standout Tayla Trask.
The junior right-hander is the ace of the pitching staff. She sports a 10-0 record with a 0.71 earned run average. In 69 innings, she has allowed only 39 hits with 74 strikeouts and 14 walks.
Trask has made 10 starts and thrown complete games in all of them.
She has been chosen the Northeast-10 Pitcher of the Week twice already for the Hawks, who are 6-3 in conference play.
Trask has allowed only one run in her last three starts for the NCAA Division II school in Manchester, N.H.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without her,” said Saint Anselm interim head coach and pitching coach Jill Gagnon. “She throws hard and she also has a variety of [quality] pitches. She is a great kid and has one of the best work ethics I have ever seen. She is a leader on and off the field. “
Trask features a rise, a drop, two types of curves and a changeup.
Trask said two of the keys to her success have been her mental approach and her changeup.
“I just focus on one pitch at a time. I don’t look ahead. My catcher [Pattie Turner] and my coach have been doing a great job calling the pitches and I trust them as well as I do my defense. I feel more relaxed and confident. I’m more prepared,” said Trask.
She said her changeup has been critical because “we face a lot of real good hitting teams and [the changeup] keeps the hitters off-balance. I have a lot more command of it this year. I can put it where I want to.”
“Her changeup has been lights out,” said Gagnon. “She can throw it in any situation in any count. It has been extremely effective.”
She also mentioned that Trask has become a “lot smarter” on the mound and, as a result, she hasn’t been giving up nearly as many hits on 0-2 or 1-2 counts as she did her first two years.
“I’ve been attacking the hitters, getting ahead in the count and working from there,” said Trask.
Trask was 9-13 with a 2.69 ERA a year ago with 137 strikeouts and 35 walks in 143⅓ innings. She was 8-7 as a freshman with a 2.30 ERA and 85 strikeouts and 17 walks in 106⅓ innings. She had two saves each season.
Trask was the Penobscot Valley Conference Class B Pitcher of the Year her senior year (2011) and was recruited by former Saint Anselm coach Greg Joseph. She loved the campus and received athletic and academic scholarship money.
The natural science major is playing for her third coach in three years, but Trask said her team is like a family, which enables them to work well together.
She and her teammates think they can make a run at the Northeast-10 title and Gagnon said with Trask on the mound, that is a realistic goal.