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Baranek: Stanton has made her mark at Marian

BeccStantis Marian Catholic’s all-time home run leader. The senior has hit 24 during her four years as varsity player.

Becca Stanton is Marian Catholic’s all-time home run leader. The senior has hit 24 during her four years as a varsity player. | SUPPLIED PHOTO

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Updated: June 7, 2013 6:34AM



Being a record-setter often brings star recognition.

Marian Catholic’s all-time home run leader Becca Stanton found that out during the first days of practice before the 2013 softball season.

“When the freshmen came in they were like, ‘Oh, my gosh. You’re Becca Stanton!’ ” she said, smiling. “It was a little intimidating, but it’s also pretty cool knowing that people look up to me, that people know my name.”

Opposing pitchers have known her name only too well for the past couple of seasons, and have spent a lot of time looking over their shoulders at the rockets that have exploded off of Stanton’s bat.

The senior catcher/first baseman has hit 24 during her four years as a varsity player.

Like other recent prodigious power hitters before her, Lexi Bryant, of Sandburg, and Emily Naegele, of Oak Forest, as a senior she’s seeing less in the way of delectable pitches. As a result her home run production is down (1 this season).

However, also like Bryant and Naegele, she’s still finding a way to help the Spartans. Through 15 games she was still among the area leaders in average at .396, striking out just twice in 48 at bats.

“Whatever it takes to win, that’s what she focuses on,” Marian coach Kerri Evans said. “She’s excited about the (home run) record, but she’s more about the team winning, which is pretty good for a kid who is so successful.”

Not bad, also, for a kid who was passed over for a recreation league all-star team and was once told she wasn’t going to be a good hitter.

“I guess I just set out to prove those people wrong,” Stanton said.

She was a real gift for Evans when she arrived on the Marian campus in 2010.

“I knew we had a catcher graduating and I was pretty nervous because the catcher is obviously a huge part of the team,” Evans said. “So coming into summer camp I was thinking, ‘Please let there be a catcher coming to Marian.’

“You could see right away at camp her athleticism first, then her determination. And then to take one look at her swing, a good, quick, hard swing, aggressive to the ball. She stood out right away.

“I was like, ‘All right. Here we go. We’re going to be set.”

Stanton said her adjustment to varsity ball as a freshman was made much easier by senior teammate and power hitter and current St. Francis college player Natalie Ward.

“I just remember watching her hitting and thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh. I want to be like that,’” Stanton said. “She was actually my first varsity friend. She would give me little tips when I came in the dugout all upset because I had just hit a groundball. I have to thank her a lot for what I have accomplished so far.”

Having hit three home runs as a freshman, Stanton’s first as a sophomore came in their third game in a tournament in Orlando, Fla., against Dyer County, Tenn. It would happen often.

Stanton went on to have a stellar season, hitting. 383 with 38 RBI, and tying Oak Forest’s Emily Naegele with an area-leading 12 home runs. The 12 broke the single-season Marian record.

Not that Stanton was aware or anything.

“No. I was so surprised,” she said, laughing. “I didn’t even keep track, and then my coach was like, ‘Oh, you beat the record,’ and I thought, ‘Pretty cool.’ ”

In between the home runs, Stanton also kept a steady bat. She was far from a one-trick pony.

“It just starts with all the reps you have to take at practice, and working with a hitting coach,” Stanton said. “You have to go up as confident as possible, saying, ‘I’m a better hitter than you are a pitcher.’ The rest just comes from muscle memory.

“Being a four hitter, you normally don’t see good pitches to begin with. So you really have to be selective and look for your pitch.”

This season, school records already in hand, she’s not worried about getting pitches on which to make a long-distance connection.

Base hits are just fine.

“I think about just taking the team as far as we can possibly go,” she said. “If home runs come along, it’s all right with me. But I want the team to go far. That would make my senior year the best.”



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