By Gavin Menu
Nearly three weeks into a long break between the end of the regular season and the start of the New York State Class C playoffs, the Pierson softball team is doing what it does best.
“We’re working hard,” said Sam Duchemin, the team’s ace junior pitcher. “Personally, the layoff doesn’t hurt me. I feel so much stronger. I feel like it’s not such a struggle because I’m not pitching every day.”
When the Lady Whalers (13-5) ultimately take the field against the winner from Section I and Section IX in a Southeast Regional Final at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue on June 7, it will have been 29 days between games.
The layoff has been a welcome break for Duchemin, who is the team’s only pitcher. She now pitches year-round, almost every day during the spring and summer months, and before the summer of her sophomore season began to grow more and more committed to playing softball.
In addition to playing for Pierson, Duchemin is a member of the Long Island Express, a summer club based in Brentwood. She takes pitching and hitting lessons year-round, and during the regular season tosses complete games day in day out for the Lady Whalers.
“Sometimes it doesn’t faze me, but sometimes it does,” Duchemin said on Tuesday, taking a break from practice with her teammates. “I’m pitching every single ball of every single game and I practice on Sundays.”
Clearly the work has paid off, and Duchemin has begun looking to the next level and to hopefully competing at the college level.
“I want to play softball in college. I don’t know where, but it is something I’m looking into,” Duchemin said. “That’s why I play travel ball in the summer and I’ve been emailing coaches.”
In addition to her softball commitments, Duchemin joined the field hockey team last fall and started as a rookie goalie. She was the hero in a state semifinal victory, and helped lead the Lady Whalers to the program’s first-ever state championship.
Which makes you think about the rare feat of winning two state championships during a single school year. Could the upcoming regional final at St. Joe’s be the start of another title run for the Lady Whalers?
“I think we definitely have a shot at it,” Duchemin said with a smile. “We definitely have the potential.”
Stay tuned. Only 10 more days until game time.