Softball: Fisher finds success in reinvented mechanics

Apr. 19—WAPAKONETA — At the end of her sophomore season, Addison Fisher was a first-team WBL selection, and Wapakoneta finished tied for second place in the WBL standings with a record of 7-2.

Fisher was at the forefront of success for the 16-7 Redskins, batting leadoff and serving as the team's top arm.

For the Purdue-Fort Wayne commit, it seemed like the progression of her softball career was on an upward trajectory. After another successful travel ball season with the Finesse, Fisher realized she needed to take a step back in order to get where she wanted to be inside the circle.

That's when Wapakoneta's star righthander, along with the help of her father, Dan Fisher, decided to retool her pitching mechanics in an effort to find new ways to keep hitters off balance.

"She broke her whole system down and went back to the fundamentals," Wapakoneta coach Bill Sammons said. "That's frustrating for a pitcher to do because in the beginning you're not throwing as fast, and your stuff isn't as sharp. Right now, we're starting to see that patience and that hard work pay off. That's something we're really happy about."

Fisher's new version of herself has been nothing but positive for her team so far this season. Prior to Friday night's game against Van Wert, Wapakoneta was 9-3 and at the top of the WBL standings with a record of 3-0.

In nine starts she's gone 8-1, throwing just under 50 innings with 53 strikeouts compared to just 18 walks. Fisher was also the winning pitcher in each of the Redskins' WBL victories over Ottawa-Glandorf, St. Marys and Celina.

So what's different this year, compared to last year?

For starters, a new arm path and leg drive as part of a revamped wind-up. The main purpose of these adjustments is for Fisher to stay smooth in her motion and hit her spots.

It's something that Dan Fisher has emphasized while working with his daughter this offseason.

"He's helped me out a lot," Addison said of her father, Dan. "He's been on me about getting my speed up and making sure that I'm hitting my spots better. That's something that I've worked on a lot this year is locating the ball more.

"It's stressful at times working with him one-on-one, but I know he's always there for me and he's going to help me through whatever I need him to."

Once she started to gain a feel for her new arm path and leg drive, it was all about improving two of her secondary pitches, the screwball and the drop-curve ball.

"They mess with the batter's timing," Fisher said. "My screwball jams batters a lot and causes pop-ups. My drop-curve is a lot of time my strikeout pitch. I like to put in on the outside corner."

Having two improved weapons in her arsenal has also given Fisher a renewed sense of confidence and caused her to attack hitters even harder this year.

That confidence has also carried over to the batter's box where she has 32 hits in 40 at-bats out of the leadoff spot this season, good for a batting average of .800. She's hit four home runs, five triples and scored at least one run in every game, crossing the plate 29 total times and driving in an additional 18 runs.

Whether it's at the plate or inside the circle, one thing is clear. Fisher sets the tone for her team.

"She's a leader and everyone sees that and follows her," Sammons said. "She's grown up so much. She's always been a big player for us even when she was a freshman because she's so used to being in big games.

"When you compete all the time like she does, competition comes easy. She's addicted to competing against the best and getting better. I can't speak enough about Addison and what a great ball player she is. "

Reach Chris Howell at 567-242-0468 or on Twitter at @Lima_Howell