Softball: BP grad gets back in the circle after injury at Luther CollegePublished 7:52pm Thursday, April 18, 2013
DECORAH, IOWA — After missing her first college softball season with an injury, Blooming Prairie grad Erica Manske is back on the field and she’s never felt better.
Manske, who is the No. 2 pitcher for Luther College, didn’t play a game in her freshman season last spring when she suffered a stress fracture in her forearm during preseason workouts.
The injury forced Manske to become a spectator and while the injury was tough, she took advantage of it.
“It was really difficult and painful,” Manske said. “But it helped me appreciate the game more and realize how much I love the game.”
Manske is 7-0 overall in 11 games this season with two shutouts for the Norse (21-5 overall), who are ranked No. 9 in Division III by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Manske has maintained an ERA of 4.15 in 54 innings, while allowing 46 hits, 29 walks and striking out 34.
Luther is a young team, but it has a strong softball tradition and the team is hoping to put together a postseason run when the Iowa Conference Tournament begins May 2.
Manske is still adjusting to the challenges of pitching at the next level and she embraces the competition she sees on an every day basis.
“Every game you’re facing good hitters and it’s a lot bigger challenge than high school,” she said.
Manske has kept her eye on the Awesome Blossoms, who she helped lead to two Class ‘A’ state tournaments. She was in attendance when BP took second at state last spring and she has kept in touch with BP’s current pitcher Shelbi Swenson, who will attend Bethel College next season.
“I still talk to Shelbi,” Manske said. “She’s a great pitcher and it’s fun to see them do so well. Hopefully they’ll win state this year. I know they can do it.”