Doane becomes starter for Syracuse after impressing in fall practice

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 10, 2015 at 12:06 am It’s the first day of fall practice and freshman Maddi Doane has everyone staring.Head coach Leigh Ross was hitting fly balls into the outfield as players prepared for practice. Those who wanted to get some early work in could.Ross would hit a ball and Doane would start running, full speed, to get there. She treated every practice ball like a real one, sprinting and even diving while her new teammates looked at each other in awe.“She just doesn’t think, which is what you really want to see in athletes, so she’s never second-guessing herself,” senior center fielder Mary Dombrowski said. “She sees the ball, it’s instinctual to go get it, lay out, no matter what you have to do, she’s going to get it.”Doane started in right field and batted leadoff for Syracuse (3-2) in the first five games of the regular season. She led off her career by going 3-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs scored in the first game of the season, and is second on the team with a .400 batting average, four RBIs and five runs scored. And despite her youth, she’s developed as a leader for the Orange.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I think it’s the way I try to carry myself, being mentally tough,” Doane said. “Not letting the pitcher see that I’m frustrated with myself, not letting my team see that I’m frustrated with myself, being able to carry myself on a positive note all the time.”An ideal leadoff hitter, Ross said, will take a few pitches and work deep into the count in the opening at-bat to allow her teammates to see the pitcher. In her first at-bat of the season, Doane worked the count full before singling.The freshman also has the speed and ability to get on base as a leadoff hitter, but her best quality, Ross said, is her presence in the batter’s box.“She battles at-bats,” Ross said. “There’s something about an attitude that can kind of set the tone for your whole team.”Before that first practice back in the fall, Doane said she was nervous. Her teammates couldn’t see it, though, because of the way she carried herself.Doane has played right field in all of SU’s games so far, but Ross said she could play all three outfield positions. The head coach recruited Doane as an outfielder, which Ross said is abnormal since colleges normally recruit players to be converted to outfielders.Doane attributes her arm strength — which Ross called the strongest on the team — to starting weight training when she was a high school freshman. She continues to develop in the weight room, inviting her teammates to extra workout sessions, Dombrowski said.“For her to have the strength that she has, and she’s this little thing, but she takes pride in that arm,” Ross said. “She’s dead on, too. She has a cannon and it’s dead on.”Dombrowski couldn’t remember Doane’s first practice of the year that Ross mentioned, but said it sounded like any other practice for the freshman since then.It’s something that’s become commonplace for a first-year player that has had no trouble transitioning.“She’s just a raw athlete,” Dombrowski said. “She has the knowledge, the skill, the speed, the defense and the offense. You put her out there, you know she’s going to get it done.” Commentslast_img read more