One of the traits that led University of Maine softball coach Mike Coutts to recruit Gorham High School’s Grace McGouldrick was her versatility.
That versatility enabled her to be earn the Maine Gatorade Player of the Year Award and leaves Coutts with some options when she comes to UMaine this fall.
McGouldrick, a 5-foot-3 shortstop, hit .692 during the regular season for the 12-4 Rams with five homers, 19 runs batted in, 28 runs scored, a .793 on-base percentage and a 1.590 slugging percentage.
As a pitcher, she was 5-3 with a 1.82 earned run average. She struck out 114 and walked just 18 in 73 innings.
“Her versatility is what piqued our interest,” said Coutts. “She’s very versatile and very athletic. She can do a lot of different things and she’s fast. She can play the outfield as well as shortstop and she can pitch.”
McGouldrick said she was “very honored” about winning the Gatorade Award and it showed that “all my hard work over the years has paid off.”
The Black Bears will be much needier in the outfield than the infield. Longtime starters Rachel Carlson and Erika Leonard, who played center field and right field, respectively, have graduated and the players who shared left field, sophomore Emily Gilmore and freshman Shanna Scribner, hit .106 and .102, respectively.
The Black Bears have senior veterans returning in the infield with the exception of first base where Kristen Niland has graduated.
McGouldrick said it doesn’t matter to her where she plays and she is “very excited” about coming to UMaine.
“I would love to play the outfield,” she said.
“I know it’s hard for freshmen to earn playing time but I’m hoping I can help out a little this coming season,” she added.
Coutts expects the left-handed-hitting McGouldrick to be more of an everyday player than a pitcher but he also said, “I didn’t know she was going to pitch as well as she did. So we’ll give her that opportunity in the fall and see how it plays out.”
The five homers was a stat that Coutts took note of.
“She is a slapper but slappers have to learn to power-slap because there are times, like when you have the bases loaded or have runners on second and third, that you need to be able to pound the ball into the outfield,” said Coutts. “The five homers shows she can hit with a little bit of power.”
“I’ve only been a slapper since I got to high school but I’m not just a slapper. Sometimes I’ll hit away. I have options,” said McGouldrick who intends to work on all aspects of her hitting, including power-slapping, while playing for the Portland-based Maine Thunder softball program this summer.
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