Vargas Leaving Impact on NDSU Softball Program
Pitching final home series this weekend against St. Thomas
FARGO, N.D — Its the final home series for North Dakota State softball this weekend against St Thomas. The Bison are battling for a top four seed in the summit league tournament and will also honor five of their seniors in a class led by pitcher Paige Vargas.
Vargas made a loud first impression winning the summit league freshman of the year and all-first team honors after pitching NDSU’s final 21 innings of the 2019 season, going 3-0 with a 0.33 ERA helping clinch the conference title.
With those highs came some lows the next year. COVID limited the season to just 17 games followed by a year three where she battled mentality through thoughts of failure but stayed strong in two important areas that kept her successful.
“Its OK if you’re not perfect which I’m a perfectionist myself so I always struggled with that but coming here I’ve learned no one’s that way and you’re going to make mistakes and that’s OK,” Vargas said. “If you don’t get this one, you’ll get the next one. Your teammates have your back. Everything comes around and if you put in the hard work it pays off.”
“Emotionally she didn’t have some of the best years in between that freshman and senior year but was still very consistent,” head coach Darren Mueller said. “She’s always been someone who can throw strikes and go out there and challenge a hitter. That’s something looking back each year was able to do. She never backed down.”
It all paid off in to a stellar senior campaign leading the team with 143 innings pitched, 131 strikeouts, 16 complete games, 13 wins and a 2.50 ERA, all top five numbers in the league.
“I don’t really think about it,” Vargas said. “I just come ready everyday and expect the unexpected because I don’t want to think something will happen and then it doesn’t. I really just have to do that. I always just come each day mentally prepared to pitch as much as I need to.”
“She’s come into her own a little bit too and with the maturity on the mound,” Mueller said. “We’ve even reduced some of the pitches she’s had in the past to focus more on those strengths. Instead of having some many pitches, reduce it a bit to make it work for her a little better.”>
Vargas last goal before leaving the program is making a run in the postseason and knows the momentum to do that starts with how she finishes.