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Freshmen making major contributions for ASU softball

The Sun Devils have enjoyed key plays from their newest faces this season

ASU freshman pitcher Giselle 'G' Juarez (45) pitches during game two of a softball series versus the no. 10 ranked Utah Utes at Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium in Tempe, Arizona on Saturday, April 22, 2017. ASU lost 7-6.
ASU freshman pitcher Giselle 'G' Juarez (45) pitches during game two of a softball series versus the no. 10 ranked Utah Utes at Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium in Tempe, Arizona on Saturday, April 22, 2017. ASU lost 7-6.

Emma Ramelot. Brianna Wise. Giselle Juarez.

Even to the most devoted fans of ASU softball, these names were entirely unknown entering the 2017 season. This time last year, each was wrapping up her high school career and preparing to transition into one of the most decorated softball programs in the country.

It's new faces like these that have been making some of the most critical contributions for the Sun Devils as they move into the final stretch of their campaign.

"Everybody can contribute," head coach Trisha Ford said after Friday night's thrilling defeat of Utah. "If you look at our lineup tonight, we used everybody except for our pitchers – that was available today. The reason why we've had so much movement in our lineup is at some point, one of those kids is going to have to come up big."

Most notably, the key plays in recent big games from freshman infielder Ramelot have not only earned her a consistent starting role, but also earned her team its first top-25 win of the season April 21. 

After having started the year as a pinch hitter with occasional starts, Ramelot recently made her name known with a a walk-off triple to beat No. 10 Utah

"You've just got to be prepared whenever the team needs you," she said. "Off the field I was working hard, and in the games, honestly you've just got to do what you've got to do to help your team. That's basically just what I did."

Earlier the same night, it was freshman outfielder Wise who had a three-run home run — her second of the year — to keep ASU in the game and cut a five-run deficit to two, setting up for a thrilling comeback which was capped by Ramelot.

Batting .283 on the season with 10 RBI, Wise has been a relatively consistent bat all season.

"Emma had been in and out of the lineup early in the year, and (Wise), is just a freshman," Ford said. "There's another instance of two freshman having big hits in big situations."

While the freshman bats have certainly been alive as of late, the 2020 class' representative in the circle has been making herself heard all season. 

Although the team's lone left-hander, Juarez, (5-4 , 2.28 ERA) statistically is the third best on a squad that features two stellar junior hurlers, she has had multiple shut-down performances.

Juarez went for five shutout innings in a mercy-rule win over Oregon State, struck out 11 in a complete game defeat of Illinois State and held a decent Iowa team to just three hits in seven innings of work.

"I thought she threw well," Ford said after her freshman pitcher's most recent outing against the Utes. "It's been a while since she's thrown a seven-inning complete game. She was working from behind too often, and that's something that usually concerns me a little bit, but she's got good stuff to work her way out of it."

While other newcomers have developed into consistent spots on the team throughout the season – freshman outfielder Randi Farricker certainly made her name known when she launched a rocket to help her team beat New Mexico State in March – these three have been the most consistent on a steadily improving ASU team. 

If the Sun Devils can continue to get help from the youngest players on their roster — such as Juarez, Ramelot, Wise and others — the future should undoubtedly be bright, not just this season, but in the years to come.

"We count on every one of us," Wise said. "If someone's not having the greatest day, someone else will pick them up. It's just a team effort, and I think we do a great job of picking everybody up."


Reach the reporter at jeff.griffith21@asu.edu or follow @Jeff_Griffith21 on Twitter.

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