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Abby Burroughs: The Swiss army knife of Gorlok softball
In her freshman season, Abby Burroughs is among the team leaders in several offensive categories. For her efforts, she was named St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Player of the Week for March 6.
Burroughs has a .389 batting average, .468 on base percentage and a .574 slugging percentage.
Head coach Chris Eaton said this team is special because of the continuity that the upperclassmen have continued to gain over the years, and younger players have been able to quickly fit in.
“A lot of them had a bad taste in their mouths after last year,” Eaton said. “Last game of the year we lost, and we would have made the conference tournament had we won. So throughout the whole offseason, it just made them work harder.”
Despite this being Burroughs’s first season with the team, Eaton said he is not surprised at how well she has played this season. When recruiting Burroughs and seeing how well she did early on in practice, he knew she had all the makings of a great player.
“She did well when we saw her when we were recruiting her, and the first day of practice we knew she would be a very good player for us,” Eaton said. “Good thing with her is she can play multiple positions; I think she’s already played five different positions for us this year. She’s an all-around good player, good kid and she works hard all the time.”
Burroughs said repetition and hard work has led to her success.
“We practiced a lot during the offseason, so we would hit two or three times a week and morning practices would include infield and outfield drills to get us in game-like situations,” Burroughs said. “We just practiced hard and we’ve been working really hard to be successful for this season.”
Burroughs is listed as a utility player and has played catcher, first base, second base, shortstop and left field this season.
“I’m really tall so it’s good for me to play first base because of my height,” Burroughs said. “I wouldn’t say I’m super fast, but I’m pretty fast so I can cover a lot of ground in the infield and outfield. I also catch, and I’ve been catching for a long time. I’ve learned so much, and I just try to keep learning.”
In the team’s second game of the season against Rhodes College, Burroughs hit her first career home run. She said that moment was really special for her because she had been working hard on her hitting in the days leading up to that game.
“I was really glad, it was a really good moment, I just felt pure joy,” Burroughs said. “The previous week I would go hitting every day and just being able to hit a home run made me realize that my hard work had been paying off.”
Burroughs said she owes a great debt of gratitude to her coaches and teammates for her early success. She said they give her the drive and inspiration to go out and play her very best.
“They helped me a lot, half of the stuff that I’ve accomplished I couldn’t do without them because they push me everyday in practice,” Burroughs said. “When I make a mistake, they’re the ones there to pick me up. If I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t have been as successful as I have been.”
Senior outfielder Katelyn Sullens said Burroughs’s batting skills, along with her diverse skill set, has made her a great player for the team. Sullens said she has confidence in Burroughs to make the right play in any situation, no matter what position she is playing.
“Abby is a really great batter; she’s a utility player,” Sullens said. “We can put her anywhere on the on the field and she knows what to do. When I’m on base and she’s at bat, I know I’m going to get to the next base.”
After the team’s 10-0 start to the season, Sullens said she is very optimistic about the future of the team for the rest of the season and even into the playoffs. She said with great production from Burroughs, herself and the team as a whole, she looks forward to seeing how great the team can be.
“I’m very excited to see what we can do,” Sullens said. “I think that our team has worked very hard in the offseason and it’s really starting to pay off. We’ve been doing really well, I just hope we can keep it up.”