Roemmich’s right-field transition helps Griffs

By Thomas Huitt-Johnson

April 11, 2012

Before the season even started, softball coach Jen Bagley made a bold move. She decided against having team captains. Bagley’s decision didn't affect the team. She said by going with zero captains, it was a way to have the girls motivated individually, and that the girls would benefit from it in the end. It may have paid off. Missouri Western, currently ranked No. 17 in the nation, has a record of 34-7 and 16-2 in the MIAA. The Griffons have the lowest ERA in the conference and are hitting second in the MIAA with a team batting average of .313. The top hitter on the team was one of the leaders the Griffons had at the beginning of the season that Bagley had to inform she would no longer be a captain. Even without the title, however, junior Maegan Roemmich is showing the team how to handle adversity. Roemmich has a .377 and is tied with the team-high in home runs. Roemmich, who blasted just two homers her first two seasons on campus, is leading the team by example with her attitude and work ethic. Along with a group of sluggers that are hitting over .300, Bagley saw Roemmich as a girl who could replace a star hitting-tandem Western lost in graduating Brittany Douglas and Toni Dance last season. Not only has the education major done that, but she counters her offense with her defensive plays she has made this season. Roemmich, who started her first two seasons as the Griffons third baseman, made the switch to outfield this year. Bagley needed a body in the right field and knew the determination Roemmich has shown in two seasons would help the transition. “I got move to the outfield this year and it’s been a lot of fun,” Roemmich said. “It’s working out a little better for me.” Bagley said Roemmich handles pressure really well, making the switch an easy one for the team. “[Right field] is where she is meant to be,” Bagley said. “I saw her being able to do a better job in the outfield.” Roemmich hasn’t disappointed. She has only one error, back on opening weekend. Going from the infield to a position she had never played before would seem tough, but the Des Moines, Iowa native has thrived, replacing Douglas in the outfield and helping the Griffons to a possible championship. “She has fit the role in covering the territory that [Douglas] did last year,” Bagley said. “You know when the ball goes out to right field that Roem's going to be able to handle it.” Second baseman Blair Stalder said she agrees when it comes to Roemmich's capabilities. Along with Roemmich, Stalder has started all 41 games. "I've never had so much confidence in an outfielder," Stalder said. "As an infielder, it can be scary going back on a fly ball because of a risk of collision, but I know she has my back." Tuesday night, with the Griffons battling Drury, both teams were in a pitching war. The score marked 0-0 in the bottom of the second. Roemmich stepped up to bat for the first time and blasted a solo home run to take the 1-0 lead. That was all Western needed, as it defeated Drury 1-0 in game one. Moments like that show the value the 5-foot-4 outfielder has on her team. “I just go out there and not analyzing every single thing anymore,” Roemmich said. “I just go out there and see the ball and try to hit it.”