Since 2019, senior Morgan Zane has occupied left field for Rowan, while also earning her way as one of the power hitters in the lineup. Zane has played softball a majority of her life and ultimately landed at Rowan to continue her collegiate career.
“I started playing when I was about eight or nine, and I really just got into softball because my brothers played baseball, and I’d figured I’d give it [softball] a shot and I’ve loved it ever since,” Zane said. “I started playing travel ball, which is really when my heart got into it, when I was about 12 years old. I played in high school, and just had a lot of fun in high school, and actually a staff member at my high school actually put the thought in my head of ‘hey why don’t you consider Rowan.’”
In her first year as a Prof, she was honored with the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of the Year title, while also being named to the All-Conference First Team. She started all 46 games, batted .390 and led the team with 39 RBIs.
Although she has always been a strong hitter, Head Coach Kim Wilson said she had to work on her game in the outfield.
“She was an average outfielder, and her work ethic is something that made her into a very very good outfielder now. And if she didn’t have that drive to get better, I don’t think she would be the outfielder that she is now,” Coach Wilson said. “Offensively, she came in with some pretty good power but she’s worked very hard at her defense, and I think she’s one of the best outfielders in the country now.”
Her work ethic has shown, wherein a shortened season of 2020 she batted .286 in eight starts and has a career fielding percentage of 98. She has also emerged as one of the most productive members on the team.
“We rely on her tremendously. She’s been doing a great job, people are starting to pitch around her,” Coach Wilson said. “It’s actually kinda funny there were people that used to pitch around other hitters on our team to get to her, and now she’s having people pitch around her, things come full circle.”
This season, however, she has had one of her most productive seasons. She has tied her career-high in home runs with six, while batting .310, with 22 hits and a team-leading 20 RBIs.
Zane cites the support from her teammates and coaches as some of the reasons for her success at the plate.
“Just having a really supportive system behind me has really encouraged me and allowed me to take risks with different pitches that I wouldn’t have swung at before,” Zane said.
While leading the pack on the offensive end, Zane has also emerged as a leader on the squad.
“Personally, I think I’ve improved the most by being a leader,” Zane said. “I don’t think that I came into Rowan expecting to take on the leadership. But it’s really a role that I was kind of encouraged into by my coaches and of course my fellow teammates as well.”
There is much more on Zane’s plate than is seen on the field, though. While finishing her senior year at Rowan, she is also student-teaching and co-owning a candle company. Her work ethic has shown on and off the field.
“She has a job, she’s a student-athlete, she’s gonna be student teaching and all that stuff and in her freshman year she started a candle company,” Coach Wilson said. “So she’s an entrepreneur also.”
Zane has learned to manage her time well while keeping herself busy is something she is used to doing.
“It’s a lot of time management, that’s for sure, but anything hard is always with doing, my dad has always told me that,” Zane said. “Pushing yourself to be a better person and to make things happen and if you really believe in something, then absolutely go out and chase it, take the risk, start the business, swing at the pitch you normally wouldn’t swing at.”
Although this will be Zane’s last swing at things, she will take it one game at a time and savor every moment in the brown and gold.
“It’s been very bittersweet, I’ve been trying to take it one day at a time and be where my cleats are,” Zane said. “Truthfully not thinking about the next game, not thinking about the previous at-bat, just living in the moment and trying to enjoy everything for what it is.”
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