Comfort continues dominant streak

Gabriela Howell

gahowell@ursinus.edu

 

Morgan Comfort’s first 12 games have proved an outstanding start to the first-year shortstop and pitcher’s rookie season. Comfort hit .400 with five extra-base-hits while the team was in Florida and has not slowed down since returning to Pennsylvania.

Comfort has gone 4-7, scoring a run and notching another RBI in each of the team’s two games since coming back to Collegeville. She has managed to improve on her stat line. She is now slashing .429/.478/.738 (batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage) for the season. Her batting average is 10th in the Centennial Conference (CC).

Comfort has now tallied seven extra-base-hits. Three of those have gone for homers and the other four were doubles. She is tied with McDaniel’s junior 1B Alicia Wagner for the conference lead. Comfort’s power numbers are even more impressive when you see her strike-out percentage is just 7.1 percent, albeit in a small sample size (42 at bats).

But Comfort might be just as impressive on the mound this season. Between her and her senior teammate, Kaitlyn Willis, Ursinus has two formidable front-end starting pitchers they can run out every day. Willis and Comfort are third and fourth in the CC in earned run average (ERA), respectively, with Willis leading the way with a 1.45 ERA and Comfort trailing not too far behind with a 1.75 ERA.

Comfort’s been on the hill six times this season (five starts) and has gotten herself a 4-1 record, allowing less than one hit per inning. The 3-2 loss she took to Delaware Valley is misleading. She pitched a complete game, allowing just one earned run, 7 hits, and one walk, and had four strikeouts.

Despite her own efforts at the plate (she hit a lead-off home run in this game), Delaware Valley was able to shut the Bears down in the rest of the game. Comfort’s pitching line remains almost as impressive as her batting statistics, with the aforementioned 1.75 ERA and three complete games in the early stages of her rookie campaign.

Comfort explains the adjustments she has had to make from high school and travel softball to collegiate level: “Collegiate softball is a lot more involved than [high school or travel]. I spend a lot more time with my teammates [and] pitch more [frequently] in college than I did in high school.”

Comfort’s transition to the collegiate level has been carried out with ease thanks to her coaches and teammates. Said Comfort: “The girls are all super supportive and would never hesitate to help me. Knowing that I have this group of girls who will have my back means so much. It has taken so much pressure off of me and I can focus more on my game.”

The rookie also attributes her great success so far this spring to her coaches and teammates: “I’ve been pushed in practice by [my coaches and teammates] every day and it has really enhanced my game. It is also helpful knowing that coach is confident in a freshman to lead off and start at shortstop [and] pitch. That really helps my confidence. The more experience I get during these games, the more relaxed I feel at bat [and] in the field.”

Head coach Samantha Campo is excited to see how Morgan takes on the new challenge of conference play.

“Morgan has been really strong in her opening campaign. She has been asked to take on many tasks this season already and seems to be up for the challenge. What is most encouraging about Morgan is her grit and determination. She is focused on each pitch, each swing, and how she can help the team. I am excited to see how she takes on the new challenge of conference play,” said Campo.

Comfort has some lofty  personal goals for the 2018 season: “This season I hope to have a winning record as a pitcher and hit over .500. They might be a long-shot, but I love challenging myself. As a team, one of our goals is to go to playoffs and win the conference.”

Junior left-fielder Faith Carson commented on Comfort’s value to the team.

“Morgan is an exceptional teammate. She comes to practice and games fully prepared for how she can contribute as a player and as a teammate. She’s been so much fun to be around, and she brings so much positive energy to our squad,” said Carson.

She added, “The great thing about Morgan’s freshman status is that she’s new to the conference too- nobody’s seen what she’s got on the mound and she’ll turn a lot of heads this season. At the plate, Morgan has been fulfilling our lead off position with poise and an aggressiveness critical for successful at bats.”

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