Softball rallies around a quiet senior leader.
Meaghan Marley’s breakout season for the softball team hasn’t come from nowhere. Her recent on the field success has come from a strong work ethic.
Marley, a senior second baseman, has emerged as a team leader on and off the field for the Owls.
After having a .190 batting average in 27 games last year, the Leonardo, N.J. native has five doubles and a .333 batting average this season in 23 games. Marley ranks second on the team in both categories.
“We don’t have a harder worker on the team,” coach Joe DiPietro said. “There is no stop in [Marley] and she’s a great teammate.”
But Marley’s collegiate softball career hasn’t exactly been normal. Prior to attending Temple, she went to Penn State and graduated in three years. Now at Temple, Marley is looking to obtain a second undergraduate degree.
After graduating from Penn State, where she didn’t play softball, Marley knew that she still had a desire to play.
“I knew that I wanted to play somewhere, and that I could still play,” Marley said. “I contacted my travel coach who knew [DiPietro], and he gave me a chance.”
Marley was a standout in high school at Red Bank Catholic where she batted .486 as a senior and helped the team win a non-public New Jersey State Championship during her sophomore year. But her transition to play softball for Temple was a challenge.
DiPietro’s gamble didn’t pay off at first, with the second baseman struggling to find her niche in the offense. DiPietro attributed Marley’s struggles to her three-year hiatus from the game.
With a year at Temple under her belt, Marley settled down both mentally and physically. Marley said she began to focus on getting better at the plate and on the field.
“I worked really hard over this winter break with my hitting coach to get ready,” Marley said. “I knew I needed practice and to gain confidence, confidence was the key.”
Marley’s hard work in the offseason has paid off in a big way with her batting average almost doubling.
With her mind set on the field, Marley’s experience began to set in. Quietly, she has emerged into a team leader, but unlike some leaders, Marley doesn’t say much. She shows it all on the field.
“[Marley] isn’t a very vocal girl, but she hustles on the field, and when she does speak, the team listens,” DiPietro said.
As a hard work ethic pushes Marley’s success, off the field she looks to help the younger girls on the team, who might have less experience in college life.
“I’m not the team mom, but having been in college for five years, sometimes I’ll help with homework and if anyone needs something they can come to me,” Marley said.
On the field and off Marley is helping to push the Owls to improve from their 10-11 non-conference record to start the season. In the Owls’ first Atlantic Ten Conference series of the season against Charlotte on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24, Marley batted in four RBIs, as Temple swept the two-game series, 9-7 and 10-5, respectively.
Colin Tansits can be reached at email@example.com.