AMES, Iowa ñ Iowa State third baseman Dalyn Varela is a workhorse who rarely leaves a game without a bruise. Sophomore Tori Torrescano pitches, plays the outfield and has proven herself to be a timely power hitter. |AMES, Iowa ñ Iowa State third baseman Dalyn Varela is a workhorse who rarely leaves a game without a bruise. Sophomore Tori Torrescano pitches, plays the outfield and has proven herself to be a timely power hitter. Catcher Amandine Habben pours her heart into every game while blocking balls and steadying pitchers from her crouch behind the plate. Transitioning from cheering on the team from the dugout last season to playing every inning of every game in 2011, Varela, Torrescano and Habben have earned their starting spots on the Cyclones softball team.
“It’s always good to see people who have worked hard be able to break in to the lineup and have success,” head coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler said.
Working hard is easy for Varela. She’s played through all the elements that come with softball: bumps, bruises and even bad weather. Her philosophy reflects her endurance.
“Working hard gets everybody to work hard,” Varela said. “I go home at night and think that we did great because we put in the effort.”
Varela and the rest of the Cyclones look forward to the end of the season and their chance of going to NCAA Regionals.
“We just have to keep our heads up when we lose games and make sure not to forget about them but to learn from them,” Varela said. “Since we only lose one person next year (senior Rachel Zabriskie) and we’re a young team, all of these experiences will help in the future.”
Torrescano played summer ball and realizes that her hard work is paying off, especially after her first career walk-off homerun, against UNI, which she followed nine days later with a walk-off grand slam against Drake. She’s played three different positions this year and is a very versatile competitor.
“Before college I moved around a lot, but I played mostly in the outfield,” Torrescano said. “It feels good to be back in the outfield.”
Having one of the most important jobs on the field, catching all four of Iowa State’s pitchers, is important to Habben. The promotion to starting catcher has meant everything to her.
“Starting is such a privilege because I’ve been a Cyclone fan since I was born,” Habben said. “Being a captain on the field is an amazing honor.”
The transition to starter has been a whirlwind for all three women and each one is filling their role exceptionally well. No longer do they have the opportunity to step out of the action for an inning, but instead take on the duty of leading the team through the regular season and, hopefully, into postseason.
“It’s a different mind frame when you’re on the bench cheering than when you’re up to bat or in the game,” Habben said. “You’ve got to be on your toes because it’s mentally and physically demanding.”