Alex Storako reached the top of the mountain.
At least for a pitcher in the top ten, i.e. The senior right-hander is the ruling Big Ten pitcher of the year, and her previous campaign was vital to the Michigan Softball Team Conference.
Now, in her senior season, expectations are as high as ever. The old man is again one of Wolverine’s aces along with five-year-old laureate Megan Bobien. Already, when there was a season left for both of them, Michigan coach Carol Hutchins compared the pair to other great throws in Michigan history.
“When you talk about Megan and Alex, you put them on the same wall with (former Wolverine pitchers) Jenny Ritters and Jordan Taylors,” Hutchins said before the season. “They were fantastic pitchers; they were in the top five in the NCAA in a number of categories, and we are very lucky to have them on our team. ”
But for Storako, the greatness of Michigan softball was not something she could expect.
In fact, it was far away.
Entering the junior high school season, Old Man had no idea where she would play softball in college. She received several offers – mostly from small schools such as DePol, where she was originally a sophomore. After moving to Lincoln Way-East High School, she immediately became one of the most important members of the team.
“Around the middle of her junior year, she found her rhythm,” said Lincoln Way East coach Elizabeth Highland. “She got into her groove, and from there it was smooth. … You look at your pitcher as the leader, and during that year’s playoffs she really led us. “
Even though Starako combined all this on the field, the success she had hoped for did not happen. There were few offers left, as she continued to fly under the radar of larger programs. Until the end of the season, the old man is not sure where her career in softball will continue.
But she did not want to reconcile.
“There was so much maturity,” Highland said. “She knew exactly where she was going and was just going for it. … She just wanted to prove herself. “
So she took a chance. The old man remained hostile to the final course and in the fall joined the Sparks Premier 18U club. On the bigger club stage, she continued her success, and finally, she began to look at larger programs.
“Entering this year, not a devotee, I thought I was just enjoying this moment,” Storako said. “I tried to realize my potential and have fun, and it led to the fact that I performed very well and got a lot of views from a lot of places.”
By the end of that fall season Storaco had done enough to get an offer from Michigan. Soon she paid an official visit and fell in love with the program, committing on the spot. Exposing herself to the possibility of failure, she found the success she sought, becoming the last member of the Wolverine recruiting class in 2019.
Reaching Michigan, Storako again found himself in unexplored territory. She entered college as a self-proclaimed “raw pitcher” since never working with a true pitching coach. Having the opportunity to learn from Mitchigan pitching coach Jen Brandege, she absorbed as much knowledge as she could.
Together, Brandege and Staraka worked to strengthen Starako’s capacity, shaping her raw talent through Brandeja’s deep technical knowledge. Brandege helped Storako become a pitcher who could immediately contribute by preparing her for her impending collegiate debut. The old man first entered the circle of “Raamahi” in the first season. She threw three innings without a hit, the first of many successful outings that year.
But when Staraka looks back on those early moments of her freshman season, she doesn’t notice this success.
“My first collegiate start was against (then № 7) Arizona,” recalls the Elder. “The most memorable thing about this game was when I gave up my first collegiate home run, Alice Palamino-Cardoso, who is now an Olympian. …
“It was just like, ‘Well, welcome to the major leagues.’ ”
In fact that outing against the Wildcats was a leap during a very strong freshman. Storaka finished that year with a 2.02 ERA and 190 strikeouts, and was selected to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. This shows how the Old Man motivates herself that in a season when so much has been done, she is still looking back on how for the first time she failed to do the job.
At the beginning of the second year Storak came out of the gate again. In her first 17 appearances, she recorded 141 knocks in just 75 innings. But, of course, the season ended in failure, as the start of the pandemic abruptly stopped him.
For the Old Man this quick end was even more bitter since the last release of the season.
“The last serve I threw that season was supposed to be a deliberate walk,” Storako said. “I threw it in the mud and we lost in extra innings. I think it was a very defining step in my career. … Some of my best friends have finished their softball careers on this field. ”
The move – and the lessons she learned from it – pushed Storako through the uncertainty that surrounded the rest of that year. She kept working every day to improve, knowing that if she got a chance to drop the ball again, she wouldn’t let it slip away. By the time the 2021 season finally arrived, she had scored a massive gap on her shoulder.
From there Storako flew away. She conducted a masterful junior campaign, leading the country in the number of draws in seven halves, publishing a 1.05 ERA. Her performance brought her a wide range of accomplishments, from setting records in Michigan to unanimous recognition of the Ten Ten Pitcher of the Year.
Storaco is now in the midst of the best season of his career. After 11 appearances, she has an ERA of 0.75 and limits opponents to an average of 0.138. Going to the opening match of “Raamahi”, she got her first non-attacker in history – a gem in eight halves against Drake.
Even as she soars to great heights, Storak still remembers when her future in softball was uncertain.
“As a young rookie and later addition to Michigan, I wasn’t expected to have a really big impact,” Storako said. “Having an impact now, years later, I am grateful for every opportunity that comes my way. There are many things that could be very different if I chose a different path or if things went wrong. “
So when the Elder adds to her ever-growing mountain of success, the foundations are solid until she couldn’t find him.