Betzold sisters give boost to Tiger softball
When recent college graduates mingle with high school students, they sometimes think, “if I had only known then what I know now.”
Mallory Betzold has the opportunity to share her thoughts as an assistant coach with the Farmington softball team, where she was a star in the pitching circle just a few years ago. She spent the last four years at St. Mary’s University in Winona, where she was first-team All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 2009 and 2011.
She tries to pass on knowledge to her sister Ashley, the Tigers’ current pitcher who is following in Mallory’s steps. That is, when Ashley listens.
“I just, like, brush her off,” Ashley said with a laugh. “It’s hard not to, but I guess I should listen to her. She knows more than I do … I thought we’d be fighting a lot more, but we’re not, surprisingly. It’s good, she helps out a lot.”
The advice comes in all forms.
“I tell her you’re a student and then you’re an athlete,” Mallory said. “Grades are important.”
She also brings a college perspective on pitching and hitting mechanics.
“In college they had me use my legs more, so I can give (Ashley) a head start,” Mallory said. “You get a lot more power.”
Before winning 36 games in college while batting .333, Mallory was a star pitcher for Farmington.
“I had a really good four years here,” Mallory said. “I know the program always hasn’t been like it was in the past, so we’re trying to build it back up and I’m glad to help.”
The sisters say there’s some risk to being on the same team, but so far it’s been a healthy experience for both as they grow their relationship and their abilities as a pitcher and coach.
“It could have been a really big positive or a really big negative, but I have a great sister,” Mallory said.
Getting into coaching was a goal for Mallory after college. She said she loves the game too much to leave it behind, but it’s been tough to stay in the dugout.
“She lives vicariously through me,” Ashley said.
Mallory said she would have entered coaching even if her sister wasn’t on the team, but she admits it’s been a nice bonus.
“I really like it,” Mallory said. “It’s been tough, but 365 days ago I was the one playing out there.”
While in college, Mallory rarely got to see Ashley pitch unless it was a game in Red Wing – a drivable distance from Winona. Ashley didn’t get much of a chance to see Mallory pitch, either.
The two of them have helped the Tigers to one of their best starts in years.
After a 6-2 victory over New Prague on Tuesday, the Tigers stand at 6-1 with the loss coming against Chanhassen.
“I didn’t think we were going to be this good,” Ashley said. “We’ve come a long way.”
Ashley had 13 strikeouts in a 8-0 victory over Rochester Mayo, the team that ended Farmington’s season last year in the section playoffs. She also threw a two-hit shutout over Northfield on April 12.
She’s been a factor at the plate as well, going 5-for-5 in a victory over Chaska on April 17 and hitting a two-run double against New Prague.
Aleah Williamson, Toni Hunsinger, Allie Rice, Ellen Wurst, Rachel Brietich, Taylor Yousse, Molly Berdan and Taylor Haakana have all had key hits and crafty defensive plays when it mattered during Farmington’s run. The Tigers will play Friday at Shakopee.