Lehigh softball pitchers Christine Campbell and Emily Sorem don’t have much in common.
Campbell, a junior, is known for her slower, off-speed pitches and her ability to stay confident even when she gets down in the count.
Sorem, a freshman, thrives against those who swing at and miss her rising fastball and is at her best when she is able to get strikes early in the count.
But even though their styles may be different, their stats both featured the same impressive earned run average of 2.40 going into Saturday’s doubleheader against College of the Holy Cross in which they each tallied a win. In fact, Lehigh sports the lowest ERA in the entire Patriot League at 2.49.
However, that number doesn’t tell the whole story.
Behind the scenes, there’s been a mentorship of one player to the next. Lehigh’s softball program has captured the Patriot League regular season championship four years in a row, and there is a lot for Sorem to live up to.
“It’s good to come behind her because I know that I need to reach the expectations she’s setting for us,” Sorem said.
The day was emblematic of the relationship between the two.
Campbell pitched the first game of the set, emerging with a 1-0 victory after allowing just one hit and no runs over the course of the 10-inning defensive battle.
Sorem followed in Campbell’s path by pitching five innings and giving up a single run in a 9-1 rout.
Though both of them had success in their starts, Sorem is a freshman and is still learning to master the game at the same mental level that Campbell has as she completes the transition from high school softball to playing in the Patriot League.
“I’m definitely learning that getting behind in the count isn’t the worst thing ever,” Sorem said. “She’s helping me with the adversity in that.”
Looking forward to the Patriot League Tournament, the team will continue to use both pitchers based on the lineup it is facing. Campbell believes that either pitcher could handle playing three games in a day, so workload will not be a factor in their choice of who to use in their games.
But their differences in playing style will be an advantage because Lehigh has the versatility to adjust their game plan based on who they draw in the tournament.
“We’ll go back and look at all the video from the first games and from there we’ll be able to tell a little bit more and make a decision,” Lehigh coach Fran Troyan said.
No matter which pitcher is on the mound, a constant positive for the Mountain Hawks has been their fielding. Campbell and Sorem both said they always know that their teammates will be able to pull out a win if they do their part.
For now Campbell will continue to mentor her freshman teammate, but after this season Sorem will be ready to lean on her own ability. The pitching duo will be a formidable challenge for the Patriot League next year.
“The fact of the matter is that (Sorem) is a couple of finals away from being a sophomore,” Troyan said. “She’ll also need to step up and be a leader for us.”