The Townsend Harris star junior right-hander had her first two high-school seasons cut short due to injury. As a freshman, she broke her left wrist in a bicycle accident and pitched in only four games. Last season, the Whitestone native missed a chunk of critical games late in the year due to a tired arm.Despite two promisiing years being ruined, Ehresman isn't exactly feeling sorry for herself."It made me realize that I'm not as strong as I think," she said.The rehab in the middle of last season was a trying process, but not as bad as seeing the Hawks tank without her. Townsend Harris lost six out of its eight games when another pitcher took the circle. Instead of being near the top of the division, the Hawks went 8-8 and finished fourth. They got into the playoffs as a No. 16 seed and had the unenviable task of facing three-time defending champion Tottenville, the top seed, in the first round.With Ehresman back, Townsend Harris almost did the impossible and knocked off one of the city's best teams on Staten Island. She didn't allow a run until the fifth when the Pirates started the inning off with three straight bunts. Tottenville's Angela Tepedino reached base with none out and scored on a wild pitch after getting to third on two consecutive sacrifices. Ehresman gave up only three runs on seven hits in six innings, while striking out seven. Harris lost, 3-0.That game showed her immense potential. Ehresman throws 62 mph with a nasty changeup and a screwball. She also hit .444 last season with a pair of home runs."She definitely has the potential to play at the next level," first-year Townsend Harris coach Mara Cohen said.And that's what Ehresman wants - either a Division I or II scholarship. But first she has to pitch an entire high-school season."That's a little bit exciting," Ehresman said. "I do look forward to pitching a full season a lot."She has never been reluctant to get back in the circle, even after being overused last season. Ehresman pitched her travel ball team, the Queens Nassau Comets, to 49th place out of 80 squads at nationals this past summer. For a local team, that's not too shabby."I think everything just happens for a reason," said Ehresman, who was the 2007 TimesLedger PSAL All-Queens first-team pitcher.She even played basketball for Townsend Harris this past winter and averaged 10.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for a team that finished third in Queens A. Still, everything goes back to softball. Even her second favorite sport."It's really good for your legs," Ehresman said of playing hoops.But now it's all softball, all the time. Now, that she's an upperclassmen, Ehresman has had to take on more of a leadership role and she's entirely alright with that."I like people looking for me to lead them," she said. "I'm a pitcher. I'm always standing there in the circle with everyone watching me. So, I'm kind of used to it."The Hawks should contend this year. They lost outfielder TimesLedger All-Queens Meaghan Mapes and infielder Lauren Noble to graduation, but catcher Danielle Abatemarco, outfielder Francesca Bartalini and infielder Allison Donovan return to form a solid nucleus.But Ehresman is still the one everyone will be watching, so to speak. If she can stay healthy, Townsend Harris will be fine. Ehresman doesn't have delusions of grandeur, though."Hopefully, we don't get Tottenville in the first round again," she said.That and a little bit of luck isn't too much to ask for.Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at email@example.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.
©2008 Community News Group
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