Naugatuck’s Wesche makes triumphant return to the circle

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Former Greyhound Alana Wesche is off to a fast start with the University of New Haven. Wesche, who was an All-State pitcher for Naugatuck, took a year off from softball but returned this year and holds a 6-2 record thus far. FILE PHOTO
NEW HAVEN — Former Naugatuck standout and All-State pitcher Alana Wesche took a break from softball after her high school graduation in 2009. It didn’t last long.

Wesche is back in the circle at the University of New Haven. In her sophomore year at UNH, Wesche is off to a solid start in her college athletic career.

In her rookie campaign in New Haven, Wesche is 6-2 with a 1.75 ERA in 64 innings through March 29.

Wesche said she decided not to play softball in college after her junior year at Naugy. She began to reconsider after she received a phone call from UNH coach Jen Starek.

“I realized that I had missed playing a season of softball for the first time since I was four,” Wesche said.

The Chargers are off to a 13-4 start to season, thanks in part to Wesche’s performance. The former Greyhound has made an immediate impact with the Chargers.

On March 12, Wesche earned a complete-game victory in a 6-1 win over Saint Joseph’s in Florida. In that game, Wesche struck out four, allowed one earned run and five hits over seven innings.

Although she took a year off, Wesche said she was unfazed in her collegiate debut thanks to the work she put in during the preseason.

“I think I got all my jitters out in fall ball,” Wesche said.

Later in the Florida trip, Wesche proved her endurance by starting and winning two games in one day.

On March 17, Wesche pitched 12 scoreless innings and earned two wins. She went five innings against Nyack and pitched a complete-game shutout against Philadelphia University.

“I was still able to pitch 12 innings and it felt good,” Wesche said.

Statistically, Wesche appears to have handled the transition to college athletics. However, she admits it has been a challenge.

“College is a lot more physical,” Wesche said. “There’s a lot of training—especially lifting workouts. In high school, we usually just practiced for two or two and a half hours.”

Wesche’s mental focus is the same as it was in high school.

“I’m still just trying to pitch my best and do what I need to do to be great,” Wesche said.

Her jump to the college game has not been a lonely journey. Wesche said she enjoys her teammates and is playing with two players she knew before college.

Wesche’s teammates, Chelsea Harold and Christina Gelardi, both have a Naugatuck Valley connection. Harold played at Naugy before transferring to Seymour during her high school career, while Gelardi played summer ball with Wesche.

“I talked with them about their experience [at UNH] before I joined the team,” Wesche said of Harold and Gelardi. “They said they really enjoyed it and that it was a good experience.”

Now that Wesche has settled in at UNH, her athletic focus is to get to the Division II World Series. Last year, the Chargers made it to the NCAA Division II East Super Regionals, the round prior to the World Series.

“If we keep our bats going and play solid defense, we have a chance,” Wesche said.