(Photo: Alli Cline/WCSN)
The No. 21 Arizona State softball team has had many key contributors so far in a 24-10 season that sees them with the third-best conference record in the Pac-12 (5-2), and a series win over the California Golden Bears and arch rival Arizona in the Territorial Cup.
The names that can be rattled off that have boosted the club to this point include senior catcher Amber Freeman, sophomore shortstop Chelsea Gonzales and senior right fielder Sierra Rodriguez. However, there may be no bigger contributor than freshman pitcher Dale Ryndak.
Coming out a highly touted recruit from Downers Grove North High School (Downers Grove, IL), Ryndak was given the daunting task of being able to replace the innings and wins left behind by graduating pitchers Dallas Escobedo and Mackenzie Popescue.
Ryndak has filled in that role beautifully, along with fellow freshman Breanna Macha, and the two are a combined 21-9 on the season while hurling 213 1/3 of ASU’s 230 innings this season.
Ryndak individually is 11-4 and leads the team with a 3.45 ERA.
Ryndak thinks that Macha has been a big part of her success in her first season in Tempe.
“We knew that we were going to be fighting for the No.1 spot (in the rotation), but we both switch off on it,”Ryndak said. “We work so well together, and she knows that I have her back and I know that she has mine out there.”
Coming out of high school as a second team MaxPreps All-American with a 22-1 senior record, Ryndak knew that Division I college softball was not going to be as easy as “taking candy from a baby” as high school often was.
“Here I knew that I was going to be faced with some adversity and I knew I was going to have to face hitters like I’ve never faced before,”Ryndak said. “These girls are four years older than me, and I’m the baby compared to them.”
Ryndak has also made a big impact on her teammates, most notably the catchers that she works with on a daily basis. Sophomore Sashel Palacios has seen a massive change in Ryndak’s personality on the mound from when the season first started.
“Early on she was maybe a little too timid going at the batters,” Palacios said. “But now that we’re in the heart of conference play she’s going right at hitters, some of the best in the country, and she’s holding her own.”
Palacios also views Ryndak as a pitcher that has multiple weapons that can be relied on in tough situations.
“I think probably her curve and her changeup are working really well right now,” Palacios said. “She’s really good at keeping the batters off balance, and I think that’s something that’s going to really help us from here on out.”
After picking up a win in relief of Macha in the first game of the 2015 Territorial Cup in Tucson, Ryndak moved to 2-2 in conference play with a 4.27 ERA. She also has picked up one save in the first game of ASU’s series with California in Tempe.
If Arizona State wants to return to the Women’s College World Series after a one-year absence and bring home the first title to Tempe in four seasons, Dale Ryndak is going to be a major piece to the puzzle. But right now, it looks like she fits in perfectly.
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