Nicole Cring’s success on the softball diamond was obvious to everyone who watched her play, but what people couldn’t see was her preparation.
Unlike Cring, most people aren’t up at 5:30 a.m.
The Cooperstown pitcher set single season school records in 2012 with 15 wins and 216 strikeouts, only to shatter those records in 2013 with 20 wins, 232 strikeouts and a .062 earned run average. Her career ERA of 1.24 is a school record too.
In the off-season, Cring would get up at 5:30 a.m., so she could go to nearby Hartwick and work on her throws with her pitching coach Tom Weeks. On average, Cring threw four times a week; the early morning workouts a necessity so she could play basketball in the winter or keep up with her school work.
“The hardest thing was getting up at 5:30 in the morning,” she said, “getting up to pitch so that I could get it in before school and get in it before basketball practice. I guess there have been times where I would have rather slept in, but I always wanted to get better.”
She didn’t start her throwing routine during her varsity career at CCS, her junior varsity career, or even during her modified career.
“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 relearn them too. Sometimes it was four steps back to take another two steps forward.”
It was a combination of the dedication that almost no one got to see and the results that everyone did see that made Cring the 2013 Daily Star softball Player of the Year. She is the first Cooperstown softball player to win the award.