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Bonsky Heating and Cooling Athlete of the Week: Aurora softball’s McKennah Metzger

Bonsky Heating and Cooling Athlete of the Week: Aurora softball’s McKennah Metzger


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


There is a lot of pressure on a softball pitcher.

And it is easy to feel it.

Inside the circle, with every pitch, the spotlight is on. With each pitch, a new wave of emotion, pressure and accountability.

As physically demanding as the position is, there is a mental strain that must be controlled in order to find success.

McKennah Metzger embraces it all.

It has taken her years to blend it all together, but the Aurora senior has never wavered and has used the game as a way to develop a mental toughness that has helped shape her personality beyond the sport.

A determined confidence for herself mixed with an unbreakable trust in her teammates.

“Pitching can be stressful, but I have learned how to handle everything, and I find a lot of peace when I am playing,” said Metzger, who has committed to play collegiately at Coastal Carolina. “It has helped me build a lot of confidence in myself and the ability to figure things out when they aren’t going like I thought the would.”

In most cases, though, things are going in Metzger’s favor.

Last season, as a junior, she led Portage County in pitching wins with 18 and was second in strikeouts with 177. She had an earned-run average of 1.50 and pitched 121.1 innings. At the plate, she was also one of Aurora’s top hitters, finishing the season with a .558 average, 48 hits, 12 doubles, 11 home runs, 54 RBI and 18 runs scored.

Along the way, Aurora softball has ascended to some of its highest points in school history.

The Greenmen have won three consecutive Suburban League American Division championships, posting a 34-6 combined league record during that three-year period. During that same time, Aurora has an overall record of 87-20, including 23-5 last season.

Metzger has found joy in celebrating it all with her closest friends.

Many of which — Sophie Petrash, Avery Qualters, Madeline Dalessandro, Rayna Unverferth, Sophie Retton, among others — she has played alongside since they were all about 8 years old.

“It feels so special to share all of the moments with them. It makes it so much more fun,” Metzger said. “They have all helped me become the player I am today and when I am pitching, I have so much trust in them behind me to make all of the plays.”

The mindset allows Metzger to attack hitters, but also knows that the pressure is not on her to strike every batter out. She gets plenty of those, too, but when the ball is put in play, Metzger watches the defense behind her pick her up.

It has all been part of the process of Metzger developing as a mastermind on the mound.

Early in her recruiting process, she admits that she couldn’t help but to compare herself to her peers, trying to figure out what the colleges liked from one recruit and how that related to what she was doing.

Eventually, she learned that being herself was the only answer.

“I realized that I had my own strengths and those strengths were all I needed. I didn’t need to compare myself to others,” she said. “I have increased my velocity over the last couple of years, but I have never really been a pitcher that has a lot of speed, so I focus on hitting my spots and using my movement and off-speed stuff to my advantage.”

With the noted individual and team achievements, consider it: Advantage, Metzger.

In addition to her fastball, Metzger keeps batters off-balance with a drop curve, changeup, screw curve, drop ball and rise ball.

“I have been a down pitcher my whole life, so I am working on the rise ball,” Metzger said.

And perfect timing, too, as Aurora’s softball program rises to new heights, with still more to come.

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