BRASHER FALLS - For most of the last decade St. Lawrence Central softball coach Tim Brown has not worried about finding a pitcher.
He has just penciled in the name, Thayer on the lineup card.
The last of the three Thayer sisters, Lindsay, is a junior for the Larries this year and has emerged as one of the best pitchers in the Northern Athletic Conference.
Last year she recorded a 1.03 earned-run average and struck out 216 batters. She also hit .417 and drove in 21 runs.
The oldest sister in the family, Sarah, graduated in 2009 and is now a senior captain for the SUNY Oswego softball team. The middle sister, Ashley, is a junior at SUNY Potsdam and owns two career college no-hitters.
Shes been fortunate to have two exceptional players in front of her, who were her sisters, Brown said. Shes kind of taken over the physical strength from both and the natural movement of Ashley. Shes been fortunate enough to have the best of both worlds and her dad (Randy), who has been willing to go out and catch all those girls (in home practices) since they were little.
Shes kind of a mix of the two (sisters). Shes taller than both (6-feet), so shes been a little bit longer. Shes got the velocity of Sarah and the movement of Ashley.
Lindsey Thayer never played on the same team as Sarah, but she was on the SLC varsity as an eighth-grader during her sister Ashleys senior season.
It was nice, Thayer said. It was stressful at times. That year I played centerfield and I batted first.
Thayer enjoyed a dominant sophomore season, leading the Larries to a 16-1 regular season record and a tie for first place with Canton in the North Division with a 7-1 mark.
She spent the summer and part of the fall playing in showcase leagues in Syracuse to improve her game.
Her location is pretty good, Brown said. She moves the ball in and out, up and down, pretty well. She has nice velocity, but shes starting to get a lot more movement on her ball, and shes starting to develop more pitches. Shes matured from last year to this year, both physically and mentally.
Said Thayer, We start pitching in the middle of winter and then you have to keep throwing pretty much every day. Ive worked on basically everything. I keep working on pitches, getting different pitches down. Im a very competitive person. I feel like (pressure) just makes me better.
A dominant pitcher in softball usually means a successful team, though Thayer and Brown know its important that the other eight players on the field handle balls batters put in play.
It gives you a good starting point to build from, Brown said of pitching. I tell the girls that we start from here and it goes from there out. We lost some of our infielders (to graduation). I think our fielders coming up will be fairly solid. It will be a bit of a learning curve as they develop behind her.
With one sister at SUNY Oswego and another at SUNY Potsdam the Thayer family finds itself rooting for two teams when they meet in their SUNYAC matchups.
Neither of the older sisters will be in college when Lindsay Thayer begins her career, and she does not know if she wants to attend either of their schools or make her mark somewhere else.
Im going to start looking soon, Thayer said. I know I want to be in the health field and have something to do with athletes.
The Northern Athletic Conference divisions have been jumbled so the races will have a different look than last season.
Canton, which tied for the North Division title, is back in the Central Division, where it will contend with Ogdensburg Free Academy, Malone and Massena for that title.
North co-champion St. Lawrence Central remains in that division and should be a clear favorite to win.
The East will be led by Colton-Pierrepont, Chateaugay and Parishville-Hopkinton, who all tied for that championship a year ago with 10-2 records.
Defending champion Heuvelton, which was a young team a year ago, won the West by three games and appears to be the class of that division again this year, with Hermon-DeKalb and Morristown giving chase.
The defending sectional champions are Malone (A), OFA (B), St. Lawrence Central (C) and Heuvelton (D).
Top individuals returning include: Heuveltons Logan Tallman, Hannah Thornhill and Alexis Sawyer, SLCs Lindsay Thayer and Noelle Rufa, Chateaugays Courtney Boyea, Massenas Kharlene Garrow, Cantons Emma Rexford, Parishville-Hopkintons Michaela Coventry and Kodi Perkins, Hammonds Alyssa Crosby, Morristowns Mikayla Horton and Malones Annie Sharlow.