Every good team has a leader. By dictionary definition, a leader is someone who leads a group or organization. In the Springfield College softball world, leader is defined as Shelby Allen.
Allen is currently in her final season at Springfield, and is a leader on a club that needs more than one in order to reach peak success. The Pride are 11-11, and the wins are largely in part to the way that the senior has played.
Allen is the ace of a Springfield staff that has leaned on her all season. The New Jersey native owns five wins with a 2.21 ERA and 50 strikeouts. Allen isn’t just strictly a pitcher though, as she has posted a .328 batting average through 20 games at the plate, adding two home runs and 13 runs batted in.
These numbers aren’t new for Allen, who notched 68 strikeouts and earned a .333 batting average last season. Coming in as a freshman though, the occupational therapy major wasn’t as dominant as she is today. Allen has made vast improvements since her first year on Alden Street. She went from throwing just 28.1 innings to pitching in every other game. The senior spoke to how she has developed from her freshman year to where she is at now.
“I will usually do long toss and work on spins during practices if we have a busy week of games and pace how much I pitch in a week,” said Allen. “The softball team also takes full advantage of the weight room which has really helped with endurance.”
At the plate, Allen has transformed herself from who contributed just eight plate appearances in her freshman year to someone who is now a large part of the middle of the Pride lineup. The senior is on pace for career highs in at-bats, RBI’s, hits and runs.
“The biggest growth of Shelby’s game has been her command in the circle and her offensive game,” said Springfield head coach Kate Bowen, who has coached Allen for the last two years. “Shelby has been a leader for us in the circle and I am excited to watch her lead for the next half of our season.”
Coaches like Bowen and teammates are part of the reason for Allen’s success. With such a supporting group around her, the Springfield star feels like she’s in a good place to succeed all the time.
“Our team values accountability, so we always push each other to do better,” explained Allen. “If I am having a rough day, I always have a teammate or coach I can talk to and they will help me figure it out.”
Allen is now reaching the reflecting part of her career as a Springfield College athlete but not before she finishes the season she is in right now. Ahead on the schedule for the Pride are doubleheaders against conference rivals in MIT and Babson. Allen will more than likely be on the hill for at least two of those games and has steady expectations for herself the rest of the way.
“[I need to] limit the hits and earned runs off of me as much as I can,” said Allen about her expected performance on the hill. “Team expectations for the rest of the season is for everyone to work hard, stay focused, and get into playoffs so we can get back to the NEWMAC tournament.”
The career of Allen is down to its final couple of months though and it is impossible to consider the pitcher’s four seasons on Alden Street as anything but successful. Her lifetime totals include a batting average of .318, four home runs, 30 RBI and 19 runs scored. Despite all of the individual success, Allen’s career highlight isn’t something that can be measured in numbers.
“My favorite part about being a Springfield College athlete is having teammates,” she said. “I have definitely made lifelong friends on this team who have supported me throughout my whole college career and will further down the road.”
With an eye on the NEWMAC tournament, the last thing anyone is thinking about is the end.
“I expect Shelby to keep leading in the circle and in the batter’s box,” said an optimistic Bowen.
After 3.5 incredible years of success Shelby Allen will be a fixture in Springfield College women’s softball program for quite some time.. She is a leader who is the machine that drives the Pride during their NEWMAC push.
“I want to make it back to the NEWMAC tournament for my last year,” said Allen. “That is one of our biggest goals for this team.”
Photo courtesy of: Springfield College Athletics