There is just one thing on the mind of Lackawanna Trail sophomore Samantha Baltrusaitis whenever she’s on an area softball field.
Even during a season in which she is making the transition from center field to catcher, the most important feature that drives her all the time is winning. One wouldn’t blame her for being a fan of the sport’s statistical side, especially this season, because the numbers she is putting up this year have her on pace for a memorable season for Baltrusaitis.
“I didn’t think I’d be doing this well, but my team always puts me into a position of strength to hit from,” Baltrusaitis said.
She is putting an impressive stamp on her sophomore season, treating opposing pitchers like it’s just batting practice.
Her name dominates the Lackawanna League Division IV statistics, appearing in five of the seven offensive categories kept by The Times-Tribune.
Baltrusaitis led the division in batting average with an astonishing .650; and her four doubles also topped the division. The sophomore ranked second in runs batted in (RBI) with 15, one off the lead, and was tied for second in home runs with two. Her 13 hits were the fourth-best mark.
“I didn’t realize how much that was; I don’t focus on that, I just want to win,” Baltrusaitis said. “I want to win the league, have some fun with my team, and do everything I can.”
One category stands out in the sophomore’s mind as being the best one she would like to be leading at the end of the season.
“RBI makes me feel the best, because it shows I had a lot of people come in front of me, that we’re doing pretty well, and just to bring them in and get some runs on the board makes me feel good,” Baltrusaitis said.
A relatively slow start to her season wasn’t a concern for the Lady Lions.
“The season got off to a goofy start,” Lady Lions head coach John Ricther said. “We never got into a good rhythm until now.”
She is on fire of late.
“The other day, first inning, and we have two on,” Ricther said. “The other team decides to intentionally walk her, but after the second pitch, the pitcher tries to sneak one by her, and she hits the ball between short and third, driving in both runners. She is focused ”
By keeping things as simple as possible seems to work for Baltrusaitis.
“Honestly, I like to find my pitch, foul things off until I find my one,” Baltrusaitis said. “I just try to calm myself down and just say, ‘Hit the ball’.”
Her numbers are more impressive in light of her position change as Baltrusaitis went from center field to catcher without damaging her offensive capabilities.
“It’s not too big of a change because I play catcher for my travel team and I have caught Ally (Allison) Decker before, so it wasn’t too hard,” Baltrusaitis said. “I like being in every play and just being the loud mouth on the field.
“I’ve always been a loud mouth, even in center, but I think I have more of a leadership role as a catcher. You’re always in every play at catcher.”
A year ago, moving into the Lady Lions starting lineup in the outfield was the challenge, but she went out and claimed the role rather quickly.
“I was surprised because I was just a freshman coming up and there were some other people who could have been there,” Baltrusaitis said. “I just wanted to work my way up and prove I could be the starter at centerfield.”
As it turns out, Baltrusaitis did what she set out to do, which enabled her to do what she loves to do; hit the ball and win games.