The freshman season is over for Marissa Miller and first-year Pacific Lutheran University softball coach Lance Glasoe.
The Lutes — who finished fifth in the Northwest Conference at 16-12 (23-17 overall) and won eight of their final 10 games — are building pillars for the program’s future. Miller has the opportunity to be one of them.
The former Puyallup High School ace and The News Tribune’s All-Area fastpitch player of the year in 2014, Miller completed her freshman season at 10-8 with a 4.40 ERA, striking out 82.
“I thought she did a great job developing this year,” Glasoe said. “From the start of the year to the end of the year, she got better every outing.”
But the transition took some adjustment.
“It seems like the game itself is a lot faster in college,” Miller said. “The tempo is a lot quicker, and you just have to be ready to go in every situation.”
And Miller, one of 10 freshmen on the roster, was immediately thrown into the mix.
“I obviously have the chance at PLU to pitch a lot, and at other places I wouldn’t have had that opportunity,” Miller said. “I’m thankful for that because I’ve gotten to learn so quickly. Instead of just looking from the bench and trying to figure it out, I got to do it from the game.”
Now, year one is behind her — and Glasoe as well. Miller was originally recruited to PLU by former coach Erin Brooks, before Glasoe took over the program last August.
“Everyone was equal,” Miller said. “There were no seniors that had played for the coach for three years … everyone was coming in with a fresh coach and a fresh slate.”
Glasoe, a Puyallup native and the third PLU coach in as many years, spent most of the 2015 season building the team’s foundations, but has a long resume of pitching coach experience. He assisted Rick Noren as a pitching coach at PLU from 2006 to 2008, before a six-year stint as a pitching coach at the University of Washington — including serving on the staff during the UW’s 2009 NCAA Division I National Championship run.
Glasoe said he will revisit those roots next season.
“Year two, I feel a little more comfortable doing that,” he said. “Next year, I’ll spend more time with Marissa and the rest of the pitching staff, and continue to kind of figure out how to get people out.”
And Miller will join in continuing to build the program.
“We have the parts,” Miller said. “But we’ve never played together before, and that’s different. Every new team you have to gel together.”