Female Area Athlete of the Week: Seelan in control in the circle
Pierz senior earns area athlete of the week
It’s been all about control for Frankie Seelan.
The Pierz senior was in control last week when she helped the Pioneers go 4-0.
Seelan started her week with 12 strikeouts in a 15-0 win over Mora Tuesday, May 9. She followed it with 16 strikeouts total in a doubleheader sweep of St. Cloud Cathedral Thursday, May 11.
“I was really throwing hard last week,” Seelan said. “I’m starting to get to the point in my season where I am gaining a lot of confidence and just worried about throwing strikes.”
The week culminated in a 10-strikeout performance against Pequot Lakes, which resulted in a 3-0 win for the Pioneers.
“She was really in control of all her pitches,” Pierz head coach Matt Poepping said. “She threw a lot of strikes and didn’t have a walk in the Pequot game. That was huge for us and we played pretty good defense behind her. It also helps that she can strike out 10 girls. She was in really good control hitting her spots and hopefully, she can keep doing that.”
The victory against Pequot improved the Pioneers to 14-1. Pierz’s only loss came in a doubleheader split against Granite Ridge Conference and Section 6-2A rival Albany.
“The Pequot game was a pretty big confidence boost,” Seelan said. “One of our goals this year was to beat Pequot, so we got that done. It’s super huge for sections and everyone was excited.”
Seelan features four pitches including a fastball, changeup, rise ball and drop ball. The go-to pitch for her is the changeup, however.
“Changing speeds is something I focus on and I think it’s one of my strengths,” Seelan said. “I’ve been throwing a changeup since I started pitching, but I started to really get it over the plate a couple of years ago.”
Poepping added: “She mixes speeds well. Her out pitch is the changeup and if you can change speeds and throw strikes in high school you are going to be in a good spot. Now that she is getting ahead of hitters, she is getting outs early and doesn’t have to worry about working deep in counts, which keeps her fresh. I think her confidence is sky high right now and hopefully, it keeps rolling.”
For the season, Seelan has pitched 89 innings, allowed 36 hits, 16 runs and 10 earned runs. She’s struck out 133, walked 33 and has posted a 13-0 record with a 0.79 ERA. Opponents are hitting .118 off her in 323 batters faced.
“Her mental game is the difference from this year to last year,” Poepping said. “She’s really mentally tough when she gets in a jam. She bears down and works to get us out of the jam and give us a chance to win.”
When it comes to the biggest improvement in Seelan’s game. Poepping went right back to her control.
“Sometimes she would walk seven to eight batters in a game last year,” he said. “This year, it’s been two maybe, three a game. She’s more focused and can tell when her mechanics are a little whack. She can make those adjustments to get back in the count.”
Seelan said she isn’t worried about girls hitting the ball on her as much.
“I’m a lot less worried because our defense is amazing behind me,” she said. “As long as I can throw strikes we are good.”
As a leader, Seelan has learned to grow out of her quiet shell as a senior.
“Frankie is not going to yell at you or do any rah-rah stuff,” Poepping said. “She’s going to lead by example and is a hard worker, who has put her time in the summer and it’s paying off.
“You know, when you ask her how she’s feeling, she’s never really going to complain. She’s got a bulldog mentality and she’s going to go out there every night and give us a chance to win.”
Seelan added: “I think I’ve learned to be more outgoing with the girls. I’m generally a pretty shy person, but with being senior I’ve wanted to step up and be more of a leader. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it.”
With 133 strikeouts in 89 innings, Seelan pumps confidence into the entire team.
“I think we all get some confidence from the strikeouts,” she said. “I think our defense overall has improved and I’m able to keep it in the zone a lot better this year.”
Poepping added having Seelan in the circle gives him a lot of confidence, too.
“Pitching is a lot of softball and if you have a girl you can run out there every game and if you play solid defense behind her, she is going to give you a chance to win, which is a good feeling to have for her and her teammates.”
Other notable performances:
Softball: Kaitlyn Geschwill, Pequot Lakes, earned her 500th career strikeout last week.
Alyssa Sadlovsky, Pierz, went 4-for-4 against Mora.
Briana Blais, Pillager, struck out 23 in a doubleheader against Sebeka. She struck out nine in a no-hitter against Royalton. She struck out 14 against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.
Jenna Dykhoff, Wadena-Deer Creek, earned two wins and went 4-for-5 against Lake Park-Audubon.
Jada Dykhoff, Wadena-Deer Creek, went 4-for-5 against Lake Park-Audubon.
Track and Field: Ashley Kimman, Pierz, won three events at the Section 7-1A True Team Meet.
Golf: Morgan Krieger, Pequot Lakes, won at the Gravel Pit.
Highlights: She struck out 12 against Mora. She also struck out 16 in a doubleheader against Cathedral. She struck out 10 against Pequot Lakes.