Clyde’s Marshall has big role with TU

After missing her senior season with Fliers due to injury, freshman settling in with new team

PHOTO BY ZACH BAKER Tiffin University’s Heidi Marshall, a Clyde graduate, runs after laying down a bunt in the first game against Hillsdale Saturday in Tiffin. The bunt went foul.

A year ago, Heidi Marshall wasn’t even playing softball.

The star Clyde shortstop missed her senior season after tearing her ACL during basketball season.

Now, Marshall is back on the field in new surroundings.

She’s at a new level, learning a new position.

But she’s back playing every day, and succeeding.

Marshall — who was a star shortstop for the Fliers — is now at third for Tiffin University. She’s played in all 35 of the Dragons’ games, and is hitting better than .300.

Not bad for someone who missed all of last season.

“I knew it was gonna be hard, and a long road ahead of me, but knowing I was gonna play in college for a great team gave me more motivation,” Marshall said, “and my teammates and coaches have put me in the best position to do what I’m doing right now.”

Tiffin University coach Jeff Nickerson — who became the program’s all-time wins leader earlier this week — said he was unfazed by Marshall’s injury.

“The kid’s an athlete. So, 100 percent an athlete. An athlete’s going to be able to play,” he said. “I knew she was gonna work hard in her therapy. Not for one second was I concerned.”

Marshall has joined a young team. The freshman is one of a number of first-year starters on the Dragons.

“Two freshman pitchers, freshman catcher, freshman third base, freshman rightfielder. We’re freshman happy at the end of the day, but we’re still playing well,” Nickerson said. “At points of the game,you see we kind of play like freshman. But that should be expected. All I can do is just continue to push them a little bit and hope that they can continue to improve for us.”

The Dragons had a big day Saturday, coming back from a 6-0 deficit in the sixth inning of the first game of a doubleheader with Hillsdale. The Dragons scored five runs in the sixth, and then, down to their final out in the seventh, Libby Crow cranked a solo homer down the right field line to tie it. The Dragons won the game 7-6 with a run in the 10th.

“Even though we were down by six, we all knew that really, it wasn’t that big of a deficit,” Marshall said, “and we scored that many runs before, and we knew it was within reach. We pulled through.”

Marshall didn’t have any hits in Game 1, and admitted she had been struggling at the plate recently.

“Right now I am struggling hitting, but I think that’s all in my head, and I can just get out of that,” she said.

Nickerson agreed.

“She’s hit the ball well earlier in the year,” he said. “A little bit of a struggle here lately, but I have all the confidence in the world she’ll bounce back for us.”

The words proved prophetic.

In the second game with Hillsdale, Marshall ripped an RBI single, and the Dragons won 4-3. It was TU’s eighth consecutive win, and the team improved to 23-12, 13-5 in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.

“This is a very confident team. They’re gonna battle and battle and battle for us, and that’s what we talk about,” Nickerson said. “Don’t give up. Fight to the last out, because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Marshall is batting .307 with four doubles and 20 RBIs.

And she’s not the only area high school player helping the Dragons.

Mohawk graduate Chelsey Trusty was used twice as a pinch runner Saturday, scoring a run. Trusty, a sophomore who is listed as a catcher/utility player, has played in 25 games, and has seven hits in 38 at-bats.

“Chelsey has come a long ways for us,” Nickerson said. “She worked really hard over summertime, came back, didn’t play volleyball here this year at the university, so she had all that time she could spend with us in the fall and improve her game, and she really has. We’re happy to have her.”

And Marshall said she’s happy at TU.

“It’s really nice. We get a lot of local kids, and the whole team just has a good camaraderie, and we all get along,” she said.