Kinsey, Partyka help Syracuse offense as pinch runners

first_img Published on April 2, 2014 at 1:30 am Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds Kristina Kinsey came in as a pinch runner two games in a row. Both times the game was tied. Both times she scored the game-winning run.Thanks in part to Kinsey’s contributions, Syracuse beat Georgia Tech on March 21 and 22, and the recent success of SU’s pinch runners has spilled over to the rest of the team. SU head coach Leigh Ross has also used senior Alexis Partyka as a pinch runner, and she said the two players bring a unique skill set to the Orange (12-15, 5-4 Atlantic Coast).“As a coach, it’s about managing your personnel, so you look at everybody’s strengths,” Ross said.Kinsey, a freshman, has yet to take her first collegiate at-bat and Partyka has only taken three at-bats this season, yet Syracuse is 6-1 when one of the two scores.The title of pinch runner has emerged for both players in 2014, but they differ on their familiarity with the role.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textKinsey grew used to playing in the field in high school, but has adjusted to her new responsibilities at SU. Partyka, on the other hand, is in her fourth season under Ross and has been used as a substitute on the bases in prior seasons.And although they’re in a very similar role, Ross doesn’t lump them together. Kinsey provides more speed while Partyka brings more experience. As a result, Kinsey has typically been used later in games than Partyka, but either one could be called on at any moment.“You learn what you have to do and when the time comes, just get the job done,” Kinsey said.Kinsey and Partyka may have roles that are perceived as less important, but by taking advantage of their opportunities, they are showing they can affect the final score. The two are doing their part to help the team win, and are working parts of a total team effort. Pinch runners can’t enter the game unless their teammates get on base. The way that each player is fulfilling her individual duty is helping teammates fulfill theirs — and the simultaneous success of the hitters and pinch runners is yielding success for the Orange. “It all starts with everyone getting on base,” Kinsey said. “If they don’t get on base, then we can’t really do anything. It’s a team effort.”In order to stay ready to answer the call from Ross, SU’s bench players run to the outfield fence and back in between every inning because a substitution can be made at any moment. And equally important as the physical side is the mental side. Partyka said she stays prepared throughout the games by being aware of every situation, and said that knowing who’s at bat, who’s on base and how many outs there are is vital to her success as a pinch runner.In practice, the whole team works on base running, but the pinch runners particularly focus on it. When infielders work on their situational defense, it’s the pinch runners that stand on base against them. As pinch runners, they have found a niche and can still contribute in ways other than batting and fielding, and both Kinsey and Partyka figure to be part of the team’s game plan moving forward. Said Ross: “I think to utilize everybody the right way is how we’re going to get those wins. I guess the proof is in the pudding.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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