Lowers a win for Winthrop

Published 9:57 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Former Nansemond River High School softball star Morgan Lowers is leading the Winthrop University Eagles in batting average and hits as a freshman this season.

Former Nansemond River High School softball star Morgan Lowers is leading the Winthrop University Eagles in batting average and hits as a freshman this season. 

It is great to have quick learners on the roster, and the Winthrop University softball team is especially grateful for that this season.

Former Nansemond River High School star Morgan Lowers has emerged as a standout not only among the Eagles’ nine freshmen but also among the entire team.

“It’s definitely been exciting,” Lowers said. “I do think I could do better each game, but I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve done so far, and I hope to continue.”

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Though the young Winthrop squad has struggled this year to get wins, currently sitting at 14-38, Lowers has shown what the near future could look like with some heroics in the present.

After the Eagles’ latest game, she leads the team in at-bats (154), batting average (.292), hits (45) and doubles (nine) this season.

Winthrop head softball coach Mark Cooke said he and his staff are proud of Lowers and are excited she has come in and taken a starting position. Batting leadoff, she has played either right field or left field on defense, depending on the status of the teams’ other outfielders.

“It’s hard to adjust from summer ball to the speed of college, and she’s adjusted very well to it, I think,” Cooke said.

Some learning could come only on the job.

“I think I was pretty well prepared with coming from the (Virginia) Legends, and I was prepared with the speed of the game and stuff, but I really did not realize how fast it truly was until I did get here,” Lowers said.

One simple lesson has been to hit the ball harder to give herself more time to get to first base.

Cooke praised her for her quick first step and her aggressiveness in the batter’s box.

“She’s a feisty little ball player,” he said. “We like that about her.”

The college game is faster on defense, too.

“I haven’t been able to take the best angles in the outfield, like on the line drives that are in the gap, so that’s one thing that I definitely had to learn how to adjust (to) is just how hard the ball is hit,” Lowers said. “It’s definitely hit much harder, and it’s low.”

But she has been able to adjust in key areas, and during the course of the season has been named the Big South Conference Player of the Week. She also went on an impressive 11-game hit streak during one stretch.

Performing so well in college “feels really good, just because of all the hard work and dedication you have to put into the sport, and so to get the outcome that I really, really wanted was exciting and definitely relieving,” Lowers said.

She keeps a lesson from Nansemond River coach Gabe Rogers top of mind.

“I always think about (how) Coach Gabe used to say, ‘It’s not practice makes perfect, it’s perfect practice makes perfect,’ and I live by that every day, because if you just go through the motions, I mean it’s good, but it’s not great. In order to be perfect, you have to have a perfect practice. Even though perfect doesn’t exist, you have to have that mentality.”

Rogers said he is not surprised at Lowers’ success at the NCAA Division I college level.

“Morgan has always been a tremendous hitter,” he said. “I’m glad that her hard work has paid off and has really given her the opportunity to be in the lineup as a freshman.”