EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 7, 2008

Letizio is Simmons' golden arm

Our College Stars

Mike McMahon

Five starts, and four complete games. It might sound like a lot of pitches, but it doesn't faze Simmons' Sammi Letizio in the least.

The former Salem star hurler has been nearly untouchable since the start of her sophomore year. In five starts and one relief appearance this spring, Letizio is a perfect 6-0 (Simmons' record is 8-3), and she boasts a only a 0.64 ERA.

Coming into the season, Letizio had no choice but to change her training routine. With pitcher Joanna Donato having graduated, she knew her workload would increase.

"I did a lot more cardio to help build up my endurance," said the 5-foot-4 physical therapy major from Windham. "I knew that they would need me to pitch more innings this year, so I wanted to be prepared for that."

The workload hasn't taken a toll on her power. Letizio has whiffed 35 hitters, and opponents are batting just .186 against her. In fact, only 26 of the 136 batters she has faced have even reached base.

"Last year, I got tired as the year went along," she admitted. "Going into this year, I knew that I needed to get stronger so I could throw more.

"My coach is going to hate me for saying this," she continued with a laugh, "but I really don't do a lot of lifting. I did some rotator cuff work last year, but not much this year. My shoulder muscles get a pretty good workout just from pitching."

Heading into a tough stretch this week with double-headers against Rivier, Emerson, and Pine Manor, Letizio is prepared to throw even more.

Letizio has been honored as the conference Player of the Week two of the last three weeks.

Joining Letizio on Sharks' roster are Meredith Burr (Londonderry) and Stephanie Murray (Groveland). Burr has been stellar defensively as a catcher and outfielder, and is still looking to make an impact at the plate. Murray, a freshman, is batting .273, and more impressively, has crossed the plate all seven times she's reached base this season.

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