Thursday, April 24, 2014
By Mike Lowe firstname.lastname@example.org
She broke her jaw just before she left Portland for Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., last year. Then Lesley Warn, the former Deering High pitcher, contracted mononucleosis after the Lyons returned from their Florida trip and missed the rest of the season.
Lesley Warn, the former Deering High ace, was the only healthy pitcher for Wheaton on its spring trip after missing most of her freshman year with mononucleosis.
Courtesy Wheaton College
So it's understandable that Warn is thoroughly enjoying her sophomore year for the Lyons.
"I'm having fun," said Warn. "It was definitely tough last year. I felt the whole year I was playing catch up, trying to get back into shape. It's nice to be back in good health."
And it's showing on the field. Warn is 12-7 with a 2.16 ERA. She has 14 complete games with 73 strikeouts and 50 walks in 1162/3 innings. Second-year coach Rachael Powers is hoping to find a steady No. 2 pitcher to give Warn an occasional rest.
"But it's so great to have (Warn) back at full strength," said Powers. "Physically she's stronger and she continues to mature as a pitcher. She understands the game."
Ironically, Warn was the team's only healthy pitcher on its Florida swing. She came north with a 12-2 record.
"My team is awesome, they've helped out a lot," said Warn. "I think in high school, the bottom line is that you have more strikeouts.
"In college, it's more about what can I do to get this batter out? And my entire team is playing awesome defense behind me. It feels great not having to strike out everyone."
Warn went to college with high expectations. She was one of the state's top pitchers over her four-year career under Rams Coach Tige Curran.
"You really want to prove yourself," she said.
But she never really had a chance. She broke her jaw in the last game of summer ball before she left for college. When she returned in the spring, she was still behind the other pitchers. Then she got sick.
But she worked hard to get stronger, lifting weights, running and throwing. Powers said that while Warn was hindered physically, the fact that she spent a season with the team was beneficial mentally.
"Mentally, she had a year under her belt," said Powers.
Physically, Warn is much stronger this year.
"She is a workhorse," Powers said.
And, said Warn, she had the summer to get back to pitching. She pitched for the New Hampshire Elite, a team featuring New England college players. Throwing from 43 feet, something she didn't do much of as a freshman, really helped her entering her sophomore year.
"You have to make sure you mix it up on the batters," said Warn. "It's hard to overpower anyone."
Warn said the Florida trip "was a little bit of a shock." She didn't expect to pitch as much as she did, but when the Lyons' other starter was injured, the ball ended up in Warn's hand all the time. And while Powers said she wants to give Warn a rest -- she'll limit her pitches in practice and continue to stress defense, which limits the number of pitchers Warn has to make in a game -- she also knows who's going to get the ball in a big game.
"If she's healthy and strong and keeps the batters guessing," said Powers, "Lesley's the one who's going to throw."
Sophomore pitcher Ryan Arsenault of Portland is off to a good start for Husson. He pitched a three-hit shutout last weekend against Thomas to improve to 3-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 381/3 innings.
• Daniel Webster junior right fielder Zach Cantor of Windham was named New England Collegiate Conference player of the week. He hit .714 last week with three doubles, two stolen bases and two RBI.
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