Andover sophomore pitcher Sara Folan has learned to relax and stay calm.
That is a good thing for the Golden Warrior softball team, which is looking to make noise in the Division 1 state tournament.
Folan has plenty of experience in the circle, having started throwing in the fourth grade. But she didn’t always like it and even stopped playing for a spell.
Her enjoyment, however, started to rise as she approached high school.
“It (pitching) took a lot of hard work but the main thing was that it was very stressful for me,” said Folan. “I used to get uptight. ... I didn’t really like it until the eighth grade.”
Folan is enjoying her position just fine these days as she takes a calmer approach to it. She has been downright dominant at times as she shares pitching duties with senior Ashley Cocchiaro.
Thus far, Folan has won four games and two of them were consecutive three-hit shutouts, one being over hard-hitting Methuen,. She has a 2.56 ERA.
“It’s pretty cool the way she has risen to the occasion,” said first-year coach Rick Quattrocchi. “She gets ahead of the batters and mixes up her pitches well. She’s really given us a lift.”
Folan saw varsity action last year but has been far more effective as a sophomore.
Other than being a year older and “feeling more like being part of the team” this year after being an awkward freshman among upperclassmen, what’s the difference?
“I’ve gotten stronger and I think I got over the stress part of pitching,” said Folan. “I’ve also gotten some of my pitches under more control, like the screwball, and I’ve gotten help from my pitching coach (Brittany Souza). Also (new assistant) Nicole (Gubellini) has helped me a lot. She calls all the pitches.”
Moreover, Folan credits the Warriors’ defense, led by standout shortstop Alexa Pacy, and feels that is one of the team’s strengths and should help Andover heading into the postseason.
The Golden Warriors were scheduled to close out the regular season on Wednesday by hosing Lexington, then wait to see what their postseason future holds when state tourney brackets are announced.