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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Beacon Spotlight: Kara Willis

If her innings pitched were worth $20 a piece, Kara Willis would be one rich freshman. The Beacon Spotlight this week shines onLady Beacon softball player Kara Willis. When Willis takes the mound, she delivers hardcoresoftball. Thedominantfreshmen leads her team in many pitchingcategory with 20 starts, 8 wins, a 3.75 ERA and 73 strikeouts, while also leading the Little East Conference in inningspitchedwith 125. Last week, Willis led UMass Boston to their first Little East win of the season, throwing nine innings of seven-hit softball while giving up only one run against Southern Maine. Born and raised in the town of Burriville, Rhode Island, Willis has been a good fit at UMass Boston. Back in 2007, Willis was voted second-team All-Division II North by the Providence Journal and was an honorable mention for the All-Division II North team in 2008. There is no doubt that Willis is not only a terrific athlete, but a promising student as well. The Mass Media decided to sit down with Willis recently to talk to her about some of her experiences and about her stalwart freshman start.

MM: Who has influenced your life the most?

KW: Softball-wise, it has to be Cat Osterman. She’s a good softball player, I’m inspired to play even half as good as she does. Besides that, my grandmother school-wise because she’s very educated and she does everything well and she started off good making it. I look up to her.

MM: What has been the most challenging part of the transition from high school softball to college softball?

KW: Better batters. You have to pitch in better spots, more off-speed pitches, more junk balls, the batters hit the balls [better too]. In high school, they do not so it’s a big difference.

MM: What goals did you set for your self before softball season started?

KW: Good question. Strikeouts, I’m trying to get a good amount of K’s. I want to pitch a lot of strikeouts.

MM: I know you can’t tell me about the parties you go to, but what do you like to do when you’re not playing softball or going to classes?

KW: Well softball takes up a lot of time to be honest and so does school, but I like to hang out with my roommates and go to the movies. I actually don’t party a lot, but just hang out and play Rock Band. Probably the number one thing I do outside of school.

MM: You throw a ton of innings compared to the rest if the girls in the Little East. How does your arm feel right now?

KW: My arm was feeling good until like two days ago. It’s kind of sore right now but compared to the Little East, like I always say there is always going to be someone better that you, there is always going to be someone worse than you. I see myself as average. I try to be as modest as possible.

MM: What one thing are you most proud of in life?

KW: Well when I came from Keene State, I was kind of down on myself about my situation with softball so I’m very proud in coming here and doing what I want with my life and starting. I’m just very proud of how far I’ve come from the beginning of my first sememster to were I am now.

MM: Your coach, Natalia Ardagna, was an impressive softball player at Bridgewater State not too long ago. How is she as a coach?

KW: She’s good. I remember the firt day I came here before every practice she helped me with my pitching right away. She’s always there when I got a problem. Like when my arm was hurting, she was there for me. She answers my phone call, she’s there on and off the field, shes good.

MM: How do you prepare before a game?

KW: We have balls and coach Ardagna writes our number and she writes one word that we need to focus on. Mine is “relax.” I tend to get really nervous and start freaking out before every game, so we get about 2-3 minutes before each game to sit down and focus on my word -“relax” – and calm myself down. That’s mainly what I do, but the night before I think about the game. I look up the stats and think about how I’m going to pitch to each batter.