Pillen in the center of things for LTC-leading Lady Titans
Whether it be in the pitching circle, playing shortstop or in the leadoff spot in the lineup, Wethersfield senior Charlotte Pillen seems to have an impact in all aspects of the game for the Annawan/Wethersfield Lady Titans softball team.
Pillen, one of two seniors on the team, recorded four hits Tuesday in an important Lincoln Trail Conference split with Princeville to help keep A/W atop the conference standings.
She also fired 7-2/3 innings between the two games and earned the relief win in game two, after a Mackenzie Lindstrom home run tied the game in the 7th and a Kaitlyn Witte homer in the 8th put the Lady Titans ahead. Pillen allowed a combined seven hits, one walk and three runs, while recording eight strikeouts.
Over the past four LTC games prior to Princeville – all A/W wins – Pillen went 10-16 at the plate with eight runs scored, seven RBI and one home run. She also had a six-inning complete game win over ROWVA/Williamsfield, which included 14 strikeouts.
The A/W Titans boast a 15-7 record overall and are 13-2 in the Lincoln Trail Conference. If they can beat United next Friday, the Lady Titans will win at least a share of their first LTC title in the co-op’s history.
For being a key component to pushing the Lady Titans to the top of the LTC, A/W’s Charlotte Pillen is the Star Courier’s Athlete of the Week.
What’s been the biggest difference between last year’s 9-19 team and this year’s team?
“I think just getting older. We had a really young team last year with a lot of sophomores and freshman, which was fine. We were kind of excited about that because we knew they would grow into their positions and we would grow as a team.”
You girls have had a lot of close wins this year, what is one that really stands out to you?
“The Princeville game we just played. After losing the first one we were kind of bummed. But it was real exciting for us to come up with those big hits in the end and not give up once we were down.”
How many different pitches do you throw?
“In high school games I throw four (fastball, curveball, screwball and changeup). I’m very confident in three out of the four, but I like to be able to change it up. I like to give them something different and keep the batters on their toes.”
What do you consider to be your best or most effective pitch?
“My screwball inside. When I’m pitching, I can hear the opposing coaches tell their girls the ball is coming inside and I don’t even shy away from it then.”
Between hitting, fielding and pitching, which is your favorite aspect of the game?
“Probably pitching. Especially this year because I’m super confident in my defense. This year I’m a lot less stressed and it’s a lot of fun knowing that when the ball is hit I can count on them.”
What has been your favorite softball memory at any level?
“Last year my Geneseo travel team won state and nationals, so that was really exciting. At the beginning of the season, we weren’t really our best. We had girls coming together and with my dad as the coach and other coaches we’ve had for a long time – they really stayed on us and said in the end it will come together and it did.”
After going through tough times with the softball program, what would it be like to be a part of the first-ever A/W Titans LTC championship team?
“It would be amazing. It’s something we’ve obviously thought about, but not really thought was in our reach the last few years. I remember Burk’s (head coach Jason Burkiewicz) first year – his goal was to turn it around. He said it might take a few years, but we’re gonna do it and it’s a lot of thanks to him.”
What kind of impact has coach Burkiewicz made on the program?
“He just didn’t give up. He didn’t look at the next game, he looked at the next year and he looked at where players should be developed. So that way they can stay there and know which position they should be working on, which will benefit the team in the long run.”
What are your thoughts on regionals and playing it at home?
“Our regional is gonna be very difficult, but we expected that. We’re excited to have it at home and have all of our fans there. We’re not going to back down from anybody, that’s the goal. Stay tough on offense and defense and let the game play out.”
You and some of your teammates have had postseason success in volleyball and basketball, does that translate to softball at all?
“Yes. A lot of the girls know the feeling of winning and what it’s like to have titles like that. It’d be really good to have the softball program have something like that too.”
More about Charlotte Pillen
Favorite food –– Steak
Favorite school subject –– Science
Favorite sport –– Softball
Favorite athlete –– Jennie Finch
Favorite TV show or movie –– The Green Arrow
Favorite type of music –– Rap
Family –– Parents; Mike and Debbie Pillen, older brother; Carter, older sister; Claire
College plans –– Attend Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and major in nursing