Quiet leader drives success
Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 00:03
The No. 5 Texas A&Msoftball team has lost just twice and started the season with a 19-game winning streak. A part of this success can be credited to senior pitcher Mel Dumezich, a four-year competitor who has established herself this season behind three no-hitters.
Up until this season, Dumezich had never pitched a no-hitter. She pitched her first career no-hitter Feb. 20 in a 3-0 victory over Stephen F. Austin. Senior catcher Meagan May said she didn’t know Dumezich hadn’t ever pitched a no-hitter, because Dumezich had always been so consistent.
"We were not entirely aware that she hadn’t had a no-hitter until this year," May said. "I guess she’s just had a lot of one-hitters that we’ve forgotten about because it feels like she’s been throwing no-hitters for four years.”
To Dumezich, each no-hitter was just another win for the team.
"(The no-hitters) are just another win," Dumezich said. "As long as we win, it’s good. As long as we’re doing good, I’m good."
Dumezich, a senior sports management major, grew up the younger sister of three athletic brothers in northern Indiana. Her brothers played football, basketball, and baseball in addition to wrestling, and the competition carried over to Dumezich.
"Everything was a competition,” Dumezich said. “That’s where my competitive nature comes from.”
However, her competitiveness leads to a composed face on the field. Many teammates look up to Dumezich and her quiet confidence to lead the team, saying her presence is enough to inspire great play.
First baseman Cassie Tysarczyk said Dumezich drives the softball team with her competitive nature.
"She has a calm presence about her when she’s fired up," Tysarczyk said. "It’s very confident, not cocky. She’s never cocky. She’s one of the most confident people that really drives our ball club."
Despite her humble demeanor, Dumezich holds an 18-1 record while on the mound while also contributing .292 batting average, good for seventh on the squad. May said Dumezich is very much respected by the rest of the team.
"Mel is pretty quiet. She is one of those people that when she opens her mouth, you listen,” May said. “She gets really fired up for games, but not in a way that she gets really loud. You can just feel it with how she is with her presence."
Several members of the team credit her success partly to her preparation habits. Dumezich spends several hours watching film on opposing hitters and May said teammates have to be her “sedative” for off-the-field studying.
"She will go find something on every person in your line-up," says May. "If there’s a YouTube video out there somewhere of that person hitting, she’s going to find it. She’s always stressing about anything that could possibly be stressed about."
A&M softball stands at 26-2 overall and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference play after a series sweep of Arkansas during the weekend. It will visit No. 6 Tennessee for another series Friday through Sunday.