The importance of the pitcher-catcher relationship, as told by the Rowan softball team

Rowan pitcher Lauren Shannon winds up for a pitch. Shannon has a 1.85 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 56.2 innings pitched. Photo courtesy of Sports Information

In softball, the relationship between the catcher and the pitching staff is crucial. This is something the Rowan softball team recognizes and mastered.

The Profs have a team ERA of 1.69, the lowest in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). As a team, they also have the most strikeouts in the conference with 155.

The Profs starting rotation is led by two sophomores, Jesse DeDomenico and Lauren Shannon. DeDomenico has gotten off to a 12-3 start and shows a very impressive 1.12 ERA. In just over 100 innings pitched, she recorded 84 strikeouts. Shannon is coming off a 5-inning perfect game vs Rutgers-Camden in which she struck out 10 batters. This was her first career no-hitter. Shannon has a record of 9-1 and a 1.85 ERA.

“We both push each other to do our best,” Shannon said. “We both always make sure that the other is on her A-game.”

Each stress how important it is for each of them to have a strong relationship with senior catcher Nicole Paiotti.

“If we start to get a little crazy out there, she knows how to calm us down,” DeDomenico said. “We pitch to her, or whoever else may be catching, everyday in practice so we all know and understand each other very well.”

Paiotti also sees the relationship between her and the pitching staff as a strong one and something that is getting even stronger as the season goes on.

“Before each game, I talk to the starter and we get a sense of what pitches she has that day,” Paiotti said. “We then relay that to our coaches, so we can come up with a game plan.”

Paiotti only made one error behind the plate this season for the Profs. She hit a pair of home-runs and is third on the team in walks. She is also fourth in RBI.

“It’s my final season, so I’m trying the absolute best I can,” Paiotti said. “At first, I struggled, but I feel I’m getting better as the season goes on.”

Rowan head coach Kim Wilson is very happy with the overall culture of the team.

“When someone is struggling in the lineup or amongst the staff, someone else is there to pick them up,” Wilson said. “Especially with pitching. That’s why you need a whole staff. Our pitchers have to be able to pitch well no matter who is behind the plate and whoever is catching has to do well for whoever is on the mound.”

The Profs overall record is 23-6-1, trailing only TCNJ in the NJAC standings. Rowan’s next game is on the road Saturday at 1 p.m versus conference opponent William Paterson.

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