ST. JOHN — In a recent postgame interview, Lake Central seniors Olivia Peterson and Jenna Towle laughed when they recalled playing on the same travel team 10 years ago.
So it’s no surprise Peterson, a catcher, knows what Towle, a pitcher, is thinking on the diamond during games. Although assistant coach Russ Serrato calls the pitches, Peterson’s familiarity with Towle and the entire pitching staff has helped Lake Central fashion a 14-1 record.
“It’s almost (as) if Liv is reading my mind and Serrato is reading my mind,” Towle said. “I love it when Liv catches for me. It’s great. We go all the way back to 8U, so we’ve been pitcher-catcher since 8 years old. I love it.”
Peterson has been a force at the plate early in the season. The University of Minnesota recruit has a .475 average, five home runs, six doubles and 22 RBIs.
Among Lake Central regulars, she is second on the team with a 1.000 slugging percentage.
“The first pitch is usually the best pitch, so I think a lot of best things I had were on first pitches,” said Peterson, explaining her prowess at the plate.
Lake Central coach Jeff Sherman said three of Peterson’s first four home runs were hit in the first inning, including a three-run homer in an 11-4 win over Franklin Central on Saturday.
“I don’t try to do it,” Peterson said. “I just want to get my team in a good position to score some runs. The first two hitters above me have done a really good job of getting on base, and I just have to do my job and get them in.”
Sherman said the early inning run support Peterson provided has helped the pitchers relax. In addition, she is a great catcher.
“She does a phenomenal job of framing pitches,” Sherman said. “She probably is able to get us a few strike calls that may not have been called strikes just by the way she receives the ball.”
Peterson, a Dyer resident, plans on majoring in business marketing at Minnesota. It’s always been a dream to play in college since she fell in love with softball when she was 6.
“I hope to catch, but I will play any position that they need me to play,” she said.
Minnesota is currently ranked No. 13 in the country in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. The Golden Gophers have won the last three Big Ten Tournament titles.
Peterson said she wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what she has without the guidance of her mom and dad, Bonnie and Scott.
“My parents have been so supportive of me, and they have believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself,” she said. “They pushed me to be the best person and player that I can be.”