GVSU's Lipovsky joins ranks as freshman fireballer
Current Lakers Andrasik, Reinhold also excelled as freshmen
GVL / Courtesy - JoLayne Dominguez Allison Lipovsky
Hard-throwing Allison Lipovsky didn’t expect to be this good, this soon. Perhaps she should have.
The freshman right-hander continues the unusual, but ongoing trend of rookie pitchers dominating in the circle for the Grand Valley State softball team.
“A little element of surprise,” said GVSU head coach Dana Callihan on the phenomenon. “Teams don’t know them. They know a name, where they are from and that’s about it. They can’t analyze things until they actually see them. But, Allison’s name is getting out there, so I’m sure teams will be paying a little more attention to her.”
Lipovsky, a two-time Michigan all-state pitcher from Harrison High School, was named GLIAC Pitcher of the Week after a perfect 4-0 record in the Lakers' annual Florida spring trip from March 6-12. She threw three complete games, allowed four runs on nine hits and recorded 33 strikeouts in 22.0 innings of work.
Overall, Lipovsky is 6-0 on the season with an imposing 0.82 ERA.
“Actually, I didn’t think I’d get off to this great start,” Lipovsky said. “I thought I could help the team out and set us up to do well, but I just didn’t expect to do this well.”
Yet, Lipovsky isn’t navigating uncharted territory.
Last year the dazzling newcomer was Courtney Reinhold. She earned an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention selection after going 13-8 with a 1.97 ERA. Back in 2013, now-senior Sara Andrasik went 20-4 with a 1.59 ERA to win GLIAC Freshman of the Year.
“Hopefully, (the freshman pitching success) is because of my recruiting ability,” Callihan said jokingly.
To be fair, scouting and finding the talent is the first step. But, it would be unjust to give second-year head coach Callihan and the coaching staff credit for the discovery when Lipovsky reached out to them first.
“When I was a sophomore in high school I started to send out emails,” Lipovsky said. “I sent Grand Valley a few emails and Doc Woods, the old head coach, came to a couple of my games and then Dana (Callihan) started coming. Then we just started to form a relationship and the relationship just continued to grow.”
Coincidentally, Callihan had another connection that made an influential impact.
“We followed her around for a couple of tournaments and it got to the point where we liked her and wanted to pursue things,” Callihan said. “As it turns out, she is the daughter of a former classmate of mine. So, I think that kind of helped get her to Grand Valley and take a look at the campus.”
Making the transition from high school to college was a difficult adjustment for Lipovsky, likewise for most freshmen. During the fall semester, she struggled with the two-hour separation from her parents and siblings in Harrison, but she has since found her second home.
“It wasn’t very smooth at the beginning, but thanks to my teammates, the friends that I have made, the people that I have talked to and the professors here," she said. "They have made things pretty easy for me and I’ve had such a great time so far.”
Now settled in, Lipovsky doesn’t have to look very far for more advice or support. Alongside her in the dugout, Andrasik and Reinhold know exactly what she is going through.
“I feel like a mommy bear watching over her cub,” Andrasik said. “She definitely got off to a really good start in her career, like I did too, which makes me so proud of her. Watching her grow, even this early into the season, I’m super excited to see where her career goes in the next four years.”