The 2021 softball season was one that saw the rise of Rowan University’s current ace, Emily August. That role and the subsequent success she has had in that position wasn’t something that was just handed to her, though. From the beginning of her career as a Prof, August has put in the work to get to this point.
“Emily came into the program as our third pitcher,” Head Coach Kim Wilson said. “We knew she needed some work to do, and every time we said ‘you need to get stronger, you need to do this, you need to do that’ she took that and she did all the work that she needed. The positive part about that is that it was rewarded with last year’s season.”
The reward of last season also came right after August and the rest of college softball lost out on a year of play in 2020 due to COVID-19. This had a big impact on August’s career because that year was shaping up to be a season where she would see more time in the circle.
August took that negative and turned it into a positive, as the loss of playing time in 2020 allowed her to fully appreciate what was in store for 2021.
“I think 2021 brought more excitement because we got that taken away from us and I got it taken away,” August said. “I was more excited and ready to get out there and I think it brought back the love for the game a lot more because I realized, when it was taken away from me, how awful it was.”
As 2021 brought excitement for the pitcher looking to get a second chance at her third year with the Profs, it also brought nerves as she was about to take on a new, bigger role as the team’s starting ace.
“There was definitely a lot of pressure because it was new to me,” August said. “I wasn’t starting before that, but my coaches did instill a lot of confidence in me and made me feel like I deserved to be there.”
Coach Wilson explained what it was about August that allowed her to trust putting the ball in her hands.
“Her work ethic,” Coach Wilson said. “[Being our ace] was hers to lose and she did a great job as we went through the season… her teammates trusted her and I thought they played hard behind her.”
It was easy for the team to play behind her when August herself put up amazing numbers in the 2021 season. In the 113.1 innings she pitched that year, she recorded 108 strikeouts and a earned run average (ERA) of 0.74.
Her ERA was the best in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) and helped her earn the title of NJAC Pitcher of the Year. Coach Wilson believes August’s success not only comes from her talent on the mound but how people underestimate her when they see her there.
“She doesn’t look overpowering, but she moves the ball very well,” Coach Wilson said. “People look at her and go ‘eh, no big deal’ and then when they get in the box they struggle with her, so she’s done a really good job.”
Now going into the 2022 season, as August enters her senior season, Coach Wilson sees her role expanding off the field to help the team grow overall.
“I think we have more depth at the pitching position this year and so one of the big things that she’s doing is she’s being a mentor to some of the younger pitchers, and that’s huge,” Coach Wilson said. “I think she has done a really good job with that and going into this season… we don’t have to put all the weight of the word on her on her back, she’s being a good mentor.”
Despite the fact that 2021 saw such success for August, there is just one thing that she wants her team as a whole to accomplish in her senior year here: win the NJAC Championship.
“Well, last season was amazing in every way. We had a great team. It didn’t end how we wanted it to but I felt like it was a great starting point for this year,” August said. “Now we’ll have a lot of experience and it’s just working on different pitches for me, working on different things, something new every day, just trying to build myself and get better.”
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