Softball

Southpaw Alexa Romero brings advantage to Syracuse’s pitching staff

Courtesy of Syracuse Athletics

The Orange now feature one of the few lefty pitchers in the ACC.

Young Alexa Romero did everything right-handedly. So when it came time to buy her first softball glove, it seemed like a simple choice. But something just didn’t feel right with the glove she got. The same dominant right hand didn’t feel as strong as it once had. Then Romero stumbled into one of the more uncommon investments in softball — a lefty mitt.

“There’s not many,” Romero’s teammate and fellow pitcher Abby Thibodeau said. “Lefty pitchers are very sought after these days, having her on staff is awesome.”

Romero hopes to close the new void Syracuse had when both its lefties graduated. Among the 10 Atlantic Coast Conference teams that list handedness of players, there are currently only 10 left-handed pitchers. That’s why Romero’s addition to the Orange (9-5) pitching staff provides the team with an edge, another option in any situation. Through seven outings, the freshman is 4-2 with a 1.58 ERA. She’s surrendered runs against then-No. 10 Georgia and then-No. 3 Florida while shutting out every other team.

“I think a majority of your good teams are going to have at least one on their staff,” SU head coach Mike Bosch said. “A lot of your better teams are going to have a lefty that will do damage.”

Syracuse graduated Jocelyn Cater and Lindsey Larkin, both its left handed pitchers from previous years, and it left a hole Romero will now plug. Junior right-handed pitcher AnnaMarie Gatti expressed optimism about the addition.

“I think adding Lex, (a left hander), was one of the best things we could have gotten out of a freshman,” Gatti said. “She’s not going to take long to be acclimated to the collegiate level.”

Despite her unique skill, colleges didn’t treat Romero as a commodity. She held three offers and chose Syracuse over two Alabama schools, Alabama-Birmingham and Jacksonville State. Her father, Larry Romero, blames the lack of interest on growing up in Colorado, a state not known for its production of softball players.

Growing up in a small state, Larry said, many people had doubts she would be able to survive the competition in the ACC. Her dad recognized the difficulties of her switching from small-time to the big show.

“I always knew she had the ability, she just never faced these great big teams like Florida has,” Larry said. “She always belonged to these small teams who traveled just a little here and there.”

Romero’s trait is not only uncommon amongst the SU pitching staff, but also in her family as well. Neither Romero’s mother nor father is left-handed, and the trait was passed down from her grandmother, the only lefty member of Romero’s immediate family.

At Syracuse, Romero works with volunteer assistant coach Miranda Kramer, a former professional pitcher who windmilled from the left side as well.

“(Kramer) is a lefty that does damage,” Bosch said. “Obviously she being a lefty and Alexa being a lefty gives her a little bit of insight on what Alexa may need too.”

In her first few games, Romero has had outings that prove she can pass the test of collegiate competition as well as carry her team through many innings. She recorded a solid outing against Florida, one of the best teams in the country. The Gators have a lethal offense, scoring 97 runs in 16 games alone. But Romero held them to just two.

“She’s shocked a lot of people,” Larry said. “There’s a lot of people in Colorado that didn’t think she’d make it an inning out there.”

Yet against Florida, she pitched 5 2-3 innings, and the season’s just beginning.

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