Nicole Cring’s success on the softball diamond was obvious to everyone who watched her play this past spring.
What most people didn’t see was the secret to her success. That’s because most people aren’t up at 5:30 a.m.
“The hardest thing was getting up at 5:30 in the morning, getting up to pitch so that I could get it in before school and get in it before basketball practice,” recent Cooperstown graduate Cring said of her off-season routine, which included roughly four morning practices per week in nearby Hartwick with her pitching coach, Tom Weeks.
“I guess there have been times where I would have rather slept in,” she continued. “But I always wanted to get better.”
Cring set single-season school records in 2012 with 15 wins and 216 strikeouts. She broke both marks in her senior season this past spring, finishing with 20 victories and 232 strikeouts. Cring also had a 0.62 earned run average last season, which contributed to her all-time school-record ERA of 1.24.
“I’ve been throwing since the end of sixth grade,” Cring said. “I’ve gone to about 10 different coaches to learn new mechanics and apply them to my pitching. I have learned something from every one of them. It wasn’t a quick process. Each time I learned new mechanics, it tended to mess up my other pitches and I had to re-learn them, too. Sometimes it was four steps back to take another two steps forward.”
Cring’s efforts also resulted in 2013 Player of the Year honors from The Daily Star, marking the first time the award has been given to a Cooperstown softball player.
Indeed, 2013 was a season of firsts for Cooperstown.
Cring led the program to its first league title as Cooperstown went 12-0 in Division III of the Center State Conference.