Ace in the Hole
Senior Allison Lipovsky brings leadership to a softball squad hungry for a championship
‘Elite’ is a word that has been devalued in the sports world with it being around seemingly to everyone and everything who accomplish anything, but those are who are truly the most dominant in their sport are often overlooked.
When looking at the Grand Valley State softball team, they have a lot of talented players on the roster, but a big reason why the team has already won upwards of 25 games early into the season is the elite play of senior pitcher Allison Lipovsky.
As of April 13, the Harrison, Mich. native has posted an 18-1 record, as Lipovsky has earned more than 15 times more strikeouts (184) than earned runs (12) this season.
This success is no surprise for Lipovsky, as after previously being named a NFCA First-Team All-American, a D2CCA All-American second team honoree, All-GLIAC first team honoree and being named the D2CCA Midwest Region Pitcher of the Year, the senior is running out of room in the trophy case.
Lipovsky is proud to rep the blue and white, as after she visited the campus with her parents in her senior year of high school, she instantly knew that she found a second home at GVSU.
“In high school, I was getting recruited and putting feelings out for which school I wanted to go to,” Lipovsky said. “But as soon as I drove under the big GVSU arch, I turned to my parents and said ‘this is where I need to go.’”
Lipovsky has seen herself improve greatly as a pitcher in four years at GVSU and she credits assistant coach Jen Rivera and maturity for her steady improvement throughout her time in Allendale.
“I’ve grown a lot in my time here, I’ve focused on my mental game since I came in at (age) 18, learning time management and being able to go out and play,” Lipovsky said. “When I started out, I only had a rise ball, and then coach Jen Rivera waved her magic wand. I try to soak up from her, I’ve added a few new pitches and I can throw in every direction.”
When Lipovsky takes the mound for GVSU, it's almost like she can 'scan' the batter, analyzing what will work while keeping a cool head.
“When I’m on the mound, I think about the batter ahead of me and analyze what I did in previous pitches,” Lipovsky said. “Turning around is my reset, if I get an 0-2 count, I won’t give a good pitch, and if it’s a fresh count I’m attacking the batter.”
That versatility and mindset on the mound has made Lipovsky a force to be reckoned with, and in her senior season, Lipovsky has tried to be more of a leader on the mound to help her teammates play to the best of their abilities.
“As a pitcher, there’s a natural leadership role. I set the pace for the game, shaking off mistakes and talking to my fielders,” Lipovsky said. “I still have to focus on my game day in and day out, but I’m also talking to the freshmen, making sure to show encouragement and offering them advice when they get into tough situations.”
That innate ability to communicate will translate well in the classroom, as Lipovsky looks to finish her degree in secondary education and wants to teach seventh grade post-graduation. Her leadership does not go unnoticed, as head coach Dana Callihan is always able to rely on her to succeed.
“It’s good to have that consistency,” Callihan said. “We’ve got our freshmen pitchers that we’re trying to develop, Allison’s been a rock, so hopefully our freshmen are learning from that.”
After the good start the team has gotten off this season, Lipovsky feels that this team is very complete and can avenge the early exit in last year’s postseason, hopefully adding a national championship to that trophy case.
“Last year we fell a little short, so we just need to come out guns a-blazing,” Lipovsky said. “I think we can win it all this year. With our quality pitching, consistent batting and good fielding, we have all the pieces. We just gotta put it together.”