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May 28. 2014 11:23PM

A winning April leads to honor for PSU pitcher Roberts


Plymouth State University pitcher Whitney Roberts, a junior out of Kennett High School of Conway, is the New Hampshire Union Leader Athlete of the Month for April. (COURTESY)

Versatility just may be Whitney Roberts’ middle name.

Whether it’s in the role of a starter, a reliever or just filling in for an injured teammate, the junior righthander has proven to be quite valuable on the mound after leading Plymouth State University to one of its most successful seasons in program history.

In one stretch during April, she managed to win five games in three days and eventually earned Little East Conference Pitcher of the Week honors. Her accomplishments didn’t go unnoticed statewide as she was also named the Apple Therapy Services/Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center New Hampshire Union Leader Athlete of the Month winner for April.

Roberts, who received 28 points from a nine judge panel, will be honored at the New Hampshire Union Leader’s annual sports banquet, The Leaders: A Celebration of New Hampshire Sports Champions in February of 2015.

In each of Roberts’ three seasons, Plymouth State has won 20 or more games. It’s the first time that has happened in three consecutive seasons in program history. The Panthers were 22-13 this season, 25-17 last season and 21-21 during the 2012 campaign.

On April 12 against UMass-Dartmouth, Roberts hurled the Panthers to a 1-0 win. She came back the next day for two more wins against New England College, pitching a three-hit shutout win (12-0) in the opener and fanning six in the nightcap for a 12-4 decision. On April 14 at Southern Maine, Roberts posted 4-3 and 11-2 winning decisions to complete her weekend.



“Against Southern Maine I had to changed things up,” Roberts said. “I went inside with my location in the first game and then went outside in the second game, using my curve and change-up more.”



It’s that kind of versatility which allowed Roberts to throw a single season career-high 117-1/3-innings for the Panthers.

“My velocity improved from last year to this season and I felt really strong at the end of the season and that’s because of my off-season conditioning work.”

Roberts made 21 game appearances this season, 15 as a starter and posted a 13-6 record with 14 complete games. She walked 30 batters, fanned 49 and posted a 2.74 ERA.

“I had to come into some games because of injury to another pitcher,” said Roberts. “You always have to be ready because anything can happen during a game.”

Placing second the April balloting for Athlete of the Month honors was Andrea Walkonen of Lebanon (24 points). A graduate of Jaffrey’s Conant High and former Boston University All-American, the 27-year-old Walkonen was the top New Hampshire finisher in the women’s field of the Boston Marathon. Her time was 2 hours 37 minutes 6 seconds, good for 25th in the women’s field overall. Softball pitchers Kate Hoadley (22 points) of Timberlane of Plaistow and Sarah Lavallee (21 points) of Manchester Central were third and fourth in the balloting.

Hoadley, a sophomore pitcher, recorded five victories and pitched four consecutive shutouts to help Timberlane post an 8-0 record in April. She struck out 53, surrendered 11 hits and didn’t allow an earned run in her five starts.

Lavallee was 5-2 during the month of April and her highlight game came against Londonderry in a 2-0 win. She allowed two hits and fanned 14 batters.

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