GREEN BAY - With more than a month to go in their regular season, Green Bay Phoenix softball team has already surpassed last season's win total. Appleton East product and Green Bay Sophomore Marissa Michalkiewicz is again a steadying force in the lineup.
Marissa Michalkiewicz has had her name penciled into the lineup every single college game she's been on the roster for, 63 times to be exact. Michalkiewicz isn't ready to call it an iron-man streak she did say it takes dedication to play every time out.
"You have to be really mentally there every day, every day at practice, every day on the field but I would definitely say you have to be a mentally strong person to start every game in college," Michalkiewicz said.
Teammate and senior outfielder Miranda Reinke said Marissa's presence is a steadying force in the lineup. "It's nice because it's someone you know you can always depend on. If she's up there you know she's going to do something great for the team," Reinke said.
There's a reason she's always in the lineup. Michalkiewicz set program records for batting average and on base percentage as a freshman. This season she leads the team in average, RBI's and slugging percentage but she's far from content.
"I feel like every year is a new year for me. I'm very hard on myself so every little thing that's not going I definitely try to work on. But I just try to improve my game every little step every year," Michalkiewicz said.
When I pressed Miranda Reinke about why Michalkiewicz has been able to be so successful at the plate in college, even she had a hard time putting her finger on the secret to success.
"Honestly I don't really know what she does well. She just seems to always hit the ball, no matter what. If they're throwin it outside and you can't even reach it, Marissa finds a way to reach it," Reinke said.
Notoriously hard on herself, Michalkiewicz takes on more of a cheerleader role with teammates. Head Coach Jean Rivett said the Phoenix are at their best when they're playing relaxed. Michalkiewicz is one of the chief contributors to the team playing loose.
"I think she sets the tone for a lot of our players. She's pretty even keeled all the time. She just loves the game. Those kids respect that," Rivett said. Reinke talked about how this year's team is better because of improved team chemistry and the attitude displayed by her younger teammate is part of that improvement.
"She is also very, very positive all the time. She just believes in everyone and it's nice to have a teammate like that," Reinke said.
With a positive outlook and good play on the field and a little help from the weather the Phoenix expect to continue to rise this season.