Growing pains

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Former Oxford Hills softball star Randi Arsenault is doing what she can to contribute as a freshman at Colby.

BRUNSWICK – Randi Arsenault was accustomed to showing up at the softball field and knowing exactly what she was going to do.

As the ace pitcher for her Oxford Hills Vikings the last few years, there was no question as to Arsenault’s role on game day.

That’s not the case this year at Colby College. As one of nine freshman on the White Mules’ roster, each game is a possible new adventure for the former Viking.

“I pitched a couple of games down in Florida,” said Arsenault. “I’ve also pinch hit, doing whatever they need me to do, play outfield, first base. I go into every game not really knowing exactly what’s going to happen. I just do what the coach needs me to do.”

With five pitchers on the squad, some with more experience than Arsenault, Colby coach Dick Bailey has looked for other ways to utilize the former KVAC all-star.

“The thing that impressed me about her is not the pitching, but the fact that I can use her for hitting,” said Bailey. “She’s always swung a good bat.”

It is a year for Arsenault to get introduced to the college level and learn while finding ways to contribute. It a different challenge than being the team’s top pitcher and hitter as she was a year ago.

“It’s a little different,” she said. “At first, it was kind of stressful, not really knowing what to prepare for, but I’ve kind of gotten used to the role. I just try to prepare myself as best I can for whatever he needs me to do.”

Through Colby’s first 20 games, Arsenault has had two starts and four appearances as a pitcher. She’s 0-2 in 16 innings and has a 2.19 earned run average. At the plate, she’s had 20 at-bats and is hitting .200. She has four hits, four RBI and a .273 on-base percentage.

“She’s going to be a good all-around player,” said Bailey. “I told her that her job this year is to go home and get stronger for me. She 6-feet tall. She’s got to be throwing it better than she is right now.”

It has been an adjustment making the jump to the college level, and Arsenault admits she’s still learning.

“It’s definitely different,” she said. “The move to 43 feet when I moved to college was a big change. So I’ve been relying on movement pitches rather than the fastballs and the change-ups like I did in high school. It’s a lot faster and the game’s a lot quicker. The girls are a lot stronger and they hit the ball a lot harder.”

The mental aspect of the game is where she feels she’s adapted the quickest.

“I’ve had to step in as a freshman a couple of times to start games or go in when we were down or have runners on,” she said. “I can’t really have a mental lapse at all.”

With a young squad building around her, Arsenault can’t help but be excited about her and the team’s future.

“I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, doing whatever the team needs me to do,” she said. “Then I’ll work out in the summer and get prepared for the future.”

At 6-14, the White Mules are going through some growing pains right now, but Bailey believes the future is bright, and Arsensault could be part of that.

“Randi is going to be fine for me,” said Bailey. “She’s just got to do a hell of a lot more work in the offseason. I think she’ll be a real integral part of the team. It won’t happen this year, but I’m hoping it will happen next year.”

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