With two in scoring position and GW down 8-7 in the bottom of the ninth, freshman Megan Linn dug in for an at-bat earlier this month that would have daunted even the most seasoned of veterans.
But seemingly impervious to pressure, Linn relished the opportunity and belted a three-run walk-off homer over the right-field wall. The quiet freshman who likes to let her bat do the talking had given the Colonials another win.
This has been the story of Linn’s season: clutch hit after clutch hit. The Corona, Calif., native leads the team in four major offensive categories: batting average (.340), runs (20), hits (33) and RBIs (21). And she’s doing it all after just 30 games as a Colonial.
Linn’s walk-off home run for GW has had more pleasant effects, igniting her team on to the beginning of a five-game win streak, during which, she added eight hits and four RBIs to her stat line. It was a five-game stretch that showed the team they could win again, after they had started the season 0-11.
Her offensive prowess has drawn the attention of the Atlantic 10. She became the second Colonial freshman of the season last week to be named the conference’s Rookie of the Week.
Linn’s early success, head coach Stacey Schramm said said, is due to her distinct focus when stepping up to the plate. She’s just looking to smash the ball, without overthinking her efforts.
“We talked to all of our hitters and had a conversation about what they are thinking going up to the plate. A lot of them said we are looking for a certain pitch,” Schramm said. As [Linn] just said, ‘I’m thinking hit, hit, hit and if it’s a ball, then I hold up.’ Any ball that is around the strike zone, she is looking and she is ready to hit rather than looking for a specific pitch.”
It’s a get-on-base mindset that has led to nine multi-hit games for Linn this season and five multi-RBI games – both the most on the team. The intended-business major also holds the longest on-base streak of the team, at 10 games.
When GW first saw her play as a sophomore in high school, Schramm explained that Linn looked to be a perfect fit. The Colonials were in need of a middle infielder that could add depth, not only to the infield, but also to its offense.
Her impressive four-year career at Corona High School, was highlighted by a .450 batting percentage as a junior. In her final year, she slugged .770 with a .532 on-base percentage, catching the attention of many collegiate softball programs.
Linn’s walk-off earlier this season was a familiar memory. In what would be the final at-bat of her high school career, served up the heroics once again. With her team losing in the last inning, and the playoffs on the line, the 5-foot-7 second baseman sent another long ball over the fence.
But Linn had some help along the way, from a renowned softball coach back in her home state: Pam Newton. One of the top junior coaches in Southern California, Newton was the former U.S. Softball Junior Women’s National Team head coach and currently serves as an assistant coach at Cal State-Fullerton
Linn said Newton was instrumental in her development, attributing much of her current success to what she learned during the four years of travel ball they spent together.
“[Newton] definitely helped me get to where I am today as a softball player. She was the best coach you could ever have and just a great person in general,” Linn said.
Schramm said the freshman’s successes aren’t near from over, thanks to her relaxed personality that allows her to have fun away from the game she excels in.
“[Linn] is a little bit of a goofball. She doesn’t take things too seriously, always jokes around and is very light-hearted. She never puts too much pressure on herself on or off the field, is easygoing and always fun to be around,” Schramm said.
Linn and the rest of the Colonials continue action Thursday at the Capital Invitational at 3 p.m. against UMBC.