Keene State College junior outfielder competes in softball since young age

Stephanie Long found her love for softball at a young age.

Growing up with someone always playing baseball, she knew she wanted to be like her role model: her dad.

“My dad [is my role model] just because since I was younger he has driven me to everything,” junior out fielder, Stephanie Long said. “He gives me advice, and I listen to him, he’s at every game, trying to help me, and what he says is usually right.”

However, her dad is not her only support system. Long is backed by her teammate and one of her best friends, senior Katie Newell.

Photos by Photo editor / Tim SMith & Photo illustration by Sports Editor / Kendall Pope

Photos by Photo editor / Tim SMith & Photo illustration by Sports Editor / Kendall Pope

“I’ll always have her back, off and on field — she’s definitely one of my best friends, and it’s great to have the communication,” Newell said.

Long’s also a role model to her teammates and the underclassmen on the team. “Coming in as a freshman, she was one of the most welcoming, sweetest upperclassmen. Her attitude and personality are very calming,” first-year Shae Crosby stated.

Long is an outfielder, batting a .359 in her 25 games played this season.

Long started all 38 games of the 2014 season, with 126 plate appearance according to Keene State College athletics. KSC is currently 10-16 in its 2015 season, and 5-5 in the Little East Conference.

“Coming from a competitive high school really prepared me for coming here [KSC], and I had opportunities as a freshman. It was a rebuilding year and we played some really, intense games and it prepared me for anything — how to handle situations and how to get comfortable quick,” Long said. Team building is very important on this year’s squad, as there are several new players.

“We have nine newcomers, which is about half and half returners and rookies, so bonding is important so we can show them what the team is about,” Newell said. Being an upperclassman holds a lot of ground in Long’s mind, as she is a key part mentally and physically for the team.

“I try to be nice to everyone and I can see a lot of times when my teammates are struggling. I just pick them up and tell them they are here for a reason and I try to  remember what it’s like to be an underclassmen,” Long said. As a sophomore [2014], Long had 10 multiple hit games and did not make an error in her 60 games in the field according to KSC athletics website. As for the rest of the season, Long said that the whole season leads up to the Little East Conference Tournament and that on any given day, any team can show up to play, and the team spends the season preparing for that. “Without softball, I honestly don’t know what I’d do because I’ve always played,” Long said. 

Mary Curtain can be contacted at mcurtain@kscequinox.com

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