The Missouri softball season is about to get under way, and Coach Ehren Earleywine has repeatedly identified his freshman infielder, Emily Crane, of Troy (MO) Buchanan as a likely starter when the Tigers open the season. Initially, Coach Earleywine had tagged Crane as his starting shortstop, but last week, he slid her over to second base, where he indicated that she is likely to begin the season.
ShowMeMizzou.com spoke with Crane, and she talked about getting started in her Missouri career.
“I bat from the left side, and I did some slapping in high school,” began Crane, talking about her offense. “But as I got older, I became more of a power hitter. Basically, (Coach Earleywine) has me doing more hitting (away), and then I (continue) to work on slapping. But I can do all three; bunt, slap, and hit. To me, I think that (improves) my chances of being in the lineup.”
“When I go to the plate, I don’t really have that much on my mind,” explained Crane, talking about her hitting approach. “I feel pretty calm about it…………………………………….. As long as I’m being calm with everything, and having fun, my results will come from that. As long as I keep smiling, and just have fun, it should be good.”
“I mean, if you’re not having fun, then why are you doing it? That’s my (attitude),” explained Crane. “I just try to go out there and try to do my best every day…………………………………. Just remember why you play the game. It is a game. I try to remember that. Yes, we’re all working hard, and it can seem like a job at times. But if you’re not having fun, then you shouldn’t be doing it.”
Crane possesses all five tools with which to play this game. She had played center field until her senior year of high school, which is when her Troy Buchanan High School coach, Lance Richardson, moved her to shortstop.
“I’ve really only played shortstop for three months,” admitted Crane, who according to Coach Earleywine has all of the tools that he’d want in a shortstop.
“I haven’t ever played second base,” continued Crane. “Right now, I’m pretty much bouncing wherever Coach Earleywine wants to put me, whatever will help the team. I’m (all) about that!”
With her exceptional tools, and her relatively limited experience as a middle infielder, Crane will continue to improve in the field. She has a very strong throwing arm, and has very solid fundamentals, as far as footwork, and transferring the ball, etc.. She’ll be good, maybe very good, defensively, and it appears that she will in time become an excellent middle infielder, defensively. But, her bat is the primary reason that she’ll be in the lineup from day one.
“I can always improve (defensively),” said Crane. “I mean, I haven’t even played (infield) for a year, so a lot of reps would be good. If (Coach Earleywine) sees me at second base, and I’m in the lineup, and I get to play, that’s great! Whatever’s going to work for the team, I just want to be able to contribute the best that I can.”
It looks to me like Coach Earleywine decided early on that he wanted Cranes’s bat in the lineup. Obviously, he feels that she’s one of those players whose bat just has to be in the lineup. And, whether she’ll end up playing shortstop, or second base, which it appears is where she’ll begin, it’s pretty clear that Crane will develop into an outstanding middle infielder!