Seymour sophomores get comfortable in the circle
How does Miranda Duncan stay so stoic in the circle?
The Seymour sophomore said she just lets her mind wander away from the softball field when teams threaten to score.
“I don’t really think about (the pressure),” Duncan said. “I get it off my mind. Sometimes I’ll think about maybe what I’m wearing to school tomorrow or something. I don’t think about it. Freshman year, it’d all be in my mind and everything.”
Trading off starts with fellow sophomore Sam Trentham, Duncan has helped make sure there’s been no let-down from the Eagles’ arms after graduating All-State pitcher Carly Lewis a year ago.
Duncan and Trentham have shined on a team with its share of stars, including Tennessee signee Lauren Irwin and UT-Martin commit Reid Ballard.
Duncan did it again on Thursday, pitching around runners in scoring position in four different innings to lead Seymour to a 4-1 win over South-Doyle.
“About the fifth inning, I pulled her aside and I told her, ‘You’re going to show everybody you’re the best in this district and you’re going to show them right now,’ ” said Eagles coach Jess Sterling. “She’d been missing some spots and I just pulled her aside and said, ‘We’re going to go and we’re going to go right now.’ From the fifth on, she was hard to beat.” Duncan allowed just a hit over those final three innings, picking up three of her five strikeouts.
She never seemed flustered, no matter the situation against the Cherokees. Part of that may be the confidence gained from a perfect game Duncan threw earlier this year. South-Doyle coach Robby Howard said Duncan’s ability to stay composed could be genetic.
“She’s quite a competitor,” Howard said. “Her dad (Randy) played for me in high school. I know she’s been raised to compete because he was quite a competitor. That’s what separates the good ones from the great ones. They’ve got that extra gear to compete.”
Duncan has 14 wins in 16 starts this spring with an ERA under two. She’s allowed just 70 hits and 27 earned runs while striking out 118 in 99 1/3 innings pitched through Thursday night. Trentham has been nearly as impressive. The Eagles’ other sophomore pitcher has a 7-2 record in 13 appearances, including seven starts. She has a no-hitter of her own and her ERA is 2.20. Her presence means the pressure isn’t on one pitcher to throw every night, particularly in inning-heavy tournaments. The two are good friends, too, and Trentham said they talk pitching and softball during the school day.
When either finds themselves in a jam, they always have a fellow pitcher to turn to for advice mid-game. “We can help each other out, see each other’s fundamentals,” Trentham said.
“It helps to have someone like that in the dugout or on the field. Even when I’m pitching, she’s on the field. She can help me from wherever she is.” Sterling said each pitcher’s personality complements the other. Trentham is loose and can make anyone laugh while Duncan is more stoic. It’s the combination of the two that’s allowed the Eagles to maintain dominance in the circle without Lewis, who has a 1.87 ERA in 29 appearances for Georgia College. “We expected a little bit of trouble just because they’re both so young and losing Carly,” Irwin said. “But I don’t think we’ve missed a beat.
Both of them have known they have to step up and both have done their jobs really well.”