Emily Soule wasn’t sure she’d play softball in college and was fairly certain if she did, she wouldn’t pitch. She was wrong on both counts.

The Cony High School graduate has played a key role in the success of the University of Maine at Farmington softball team, both on the mound and in the field.

“She’s done a lot of everything for us,” UMF coach Cindy Pratt said. “Her versatility has really helped us out this year. Five of our wins have come from her.”

Soule ran her season record to 6-3 on Tuesday as fifth-seeded UMF knocked off No. 4 Maine Maritime Academy 5-4 in the opening round of the North Atlantic Conference playoffs. Next up is top-seeded Husson. When she doesn’t pitch, she plays first base or in the outfield. Pratt initially penciled Soule in as a part-time pitcher, but that changed once she watched her throw.

“Early in the season I tried to protect her a little bit,” Pratt said. “After a couple of games she was pitching so well I switched her to starting the first game (of doubleheaders).”

Soule focused on getting into the right college after high school rather than softball. She chose UMF because of its emphasis on education, but has since switched majors to rehabilitation services.

“I still want to work with kids and be a counselor,” she said.

She didn’t want to pitch although she did a lot of it in high school. Selecting a position, however, wasn’t an option and she’s readjusted to the mound.

“I think mentally I’ve improved a lot more,” Soule said. “My mindset is a lot different. I’m not looking to strike out as many batters as I can. They’re definitely making more contact than high school. Everyone is a good hitter.”

Soule fanned 45 batters in 62 regular-season innings while walking just 17. Pratt likes the way she changes speeds to keep hitters off balance and said Soule being left-handed is another plus since it gives batters a different look. Soule pitched and played the field at Cony where she was a four-year starter, but left the team early in her senior year for personal reasons. She has no regrets despite the fact the Rams went unbeaten and won a state championship.

“It was the right decision for me,” she said.

As she proved at Cony, Soule is also a valuable hitter and fielder. She batted .286 while hitting in the leadoff spot or third most of the season while playing first or the outfield

“She is a very good outfielder,” Pratt said. “She’s also a very good fielding pitcher.”

Soule was reunited at UMF with former Cony teammate Amy Jones, a junior who is the team’s starting shortstop.

“It’s really nice having her back there,” Soule said. “We know each other, how each other plays.”

Soule likes the small-school atmosphere at Farmington as well as the town.

“I recognize a lot of people,” she said.

Softball has panned out well, too. UMF has played the top teams well. Soule has a pitching win against No. 2 Castleton State and last week lost 1-0 to top-seeded Husson.

“We’re a really decent team if everyone’s on their ‘A’ game,” she said. “We could definitely go all the way.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

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