Maryann Hoskins came into the season with a clear head and a smarter approach – and confidence.
The former Havelock softball star, now a dazzling pitcher at Lenoir-Rhyne, earned All-Southeast Region Second-Team honors and helped the Bears make it back to the Division II Southeast Regional Tournament.
Hoskins, a right-handed flame-thrower, struck out 219 batters in 191 innings. She posted a 1.50 earned run average with a 20-9 record.
She ended her sophomore season with 23 complete games and 10 shutouts for the 24th-ranked Division II softball team in the nation.
“I kept hitters off balance better and I was able to go out there and throw how I know how to throw,” Hoskins said. “I knew what to expect when I came in this year. Last year, I wasn’t the best about being confident in myself and being smart.”
Hoskins placed the ball, mostly, where she wanted – and used her four pitches to put opposing hitters away. She has always been dominant with her curveball and rise ball, but she worked to improve her screwball and change-up this season.
“My curveball and my rise ball have been my go-to pitches from the beginning. My screwball and change-up have come a long way since I’ve gotten here,” Hoskins said. “I made sure my pitches were moving and placing it on the corner and making people chase them.”
Lenoir-Rhyne owned a 40-15 record and was ranked in the Top 25 for nearly the entire season. The season ended with a 3-1 loss to Wingate in the Southeast Regional Tournament May 11 in Dahlonega, Ga.
Hoskins’ final outing was the day before. She struck out 13 batters and allowed one earned run in 6 2/3 innings of relief in a 7-6 win over Mount Olive.
“It felt great to make it that far. I think we’ve made it like nine-straight years,” Hoskins said. “It was expected of us, but we worked hard for it.
“I’m honored to be a part of the team. It’s great to know I am part of the reason we’ve been going (to regionals). It’s not just me, but it’s the whole team.”
Hoskins pitched the first game of the season – a 2-0 loss to Mount Olive – and threw 34 more times after that. She split pitching duties with fellow sophomore Brandi Hole.
“I worked hard for it, but I wouldn’t have gotten it without my teammates backing me up,” Hoskins said.
“I made sure I was putting more spin on the ball to make it move more so people couldn’t catch up to it as much as they had been.”
Hoskins dives into the offseason with some momentum, and confidence, in preparation for her junior season.
“I’m looking to continue what I’ve been doing,” she said. “I have to keep working hard and not slack off. I need to make sure my pitches continue to work and do what I know how.”
Adam Thompson is a reporter for the Sun Journal.