Three Rivers softball’s single season home run record holder is extending her playing career for two more years. Wednesday, sophomore Allison Pingel signed her letter of intent to play for Missouri Baptist next season, a program that finished with a 31-22 record a season ago. Pingel shattered two previous single season records during her freshman year. Pingel hit 21 home runs, six more than the previous record, and tallied 84 RBIs, 20 more than the program’s previous season record, all while maintaining a .455 batting average. Pingel said the distance from her hometown of Farmington, which is a little more than an hour south of Missouri Baptist, was one of the main factors in her decision to commit to the program. “I liked how it was about the same (distance) as being at Three Rivers, just the opposite direction,” Pingel said. “The coach was just very welcoming. It felt kind of like I was back at home again, kind of like it did when I showed up at Three Rivers. … The atmosphere was nice and it was welcoming.” Another factor in her decision is the addition of her former summer softball coach, Scott Charleville. Pingel said having a coach on the staff who she is already familiar with should help ease some of the growing pains of transferring to a new program. “I think that’ll be great because I was a little nervous at Three Rivers, but I kind of found my place here and my role,” Pingel said. “It’s hard because these girls are my sisters. My coaches, they’re like parent figures to me. I look up to them in every way. It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be great to have a familiar face there to welcome me with open arms.” Although Pingel said she was aiming for the single season doubles record when she first arrived at Three Rivers, the home run record showed off a hitting prowess that stuck out to the Missouri Baptist coaching staff. “The biggest thing (that stuck out) quite naturally was her hitting,” Missouri Baptist assistant head coach Ken Messer-Brooks said. “We’re in a situation now where we lost our number one pitcher, and so we’re going to be hitting to back us up this year and next year.”
The other big benefit Messer-Brooks and the Missouri Baptist coaching staff noticed is her drive in the classroom. As a student with a 3.45 GPA who is on pace for a 4.0 in the fall semester, Pingel prides herself on academics. “Academics has always been a big thing for me,” said Pingel, who will major in elementary education. “Anything below a B just feels like the end of the world to me. Getting on the Dean’s List just feels like you’re doing something else that’s really great while you’re also playing a sport, so it just makes it better knowing you’re able to succeed in both.” Pingel is also a student of the game. Three Rivers head coach Jeff Null said she quickly applied what he and the coaching staff were trying to teach her about driving the ball, which helped her hit 21 home runs during her freshman year. “She really bought in to elevating the ball like we wanted her to. Strength is her game, not speed, and she always hit the ball hard,” Null said. “It was just a matter of elevating the ball, and man, she bought into that, took off and was able to maintain her high average while doing that, and she drove in 84 runs, which is a crazy number.” Despite already signing with Missouri Baptist, Pingel still plans to play her sophomore season. If Pingel finishes with two home runs and 26 RBIs in the spring, she’ll become Three Rivers’ career record holder in both categories.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic