Lyon Takes Step Forward

May 14, 2011

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — There are certain moments where things just click. Things come together and the countless hours of practice translate into success in the limelight. April 23 was that kind of day for University of Iowa sophomore Chelsea Lyon.

Toeing the rubber in Ann Arbor, Mich., against top-ranked Michigan, Lyon allowed two runs on eight hits in the complete game victory. She mixed her pitches exceptionally well to the tune of striking out seven Wolverine batters. As a result, she was selected as the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week on April 25.

Games and performances like that are confidence builders, and it showed Lyon what she is capable of in the circle.

“It showed me that I am capable of being one of the top pitchers,” said Lyon. “That day, Liz (Watkins) and I were clicking really well. We knew how we wanted to pitch, what we wanted to throw. If I shook her off, she knew exactly what I wanted to throw.

“If I have everything clicking — mentally, confidence-wise and physically — it showed me what I have the potential to do.”

Lyon finished her sophomore season with a team-best 15 victories to 12 defeats. She finished with a 3.35 earned run average, and had 120 strikeouts in 169.1 innings.

The Oklahoma native tossed the first two complete game shutouts of her Hawkeye career — a two hit, seven strikeout performance in the win over South Dakota on March 20 and a six hit, five strikeout outing in the 1-0 win over Penn State on May 7. She also threw a one-hitter in the 2-1 road victory at Minnesota on April 13.

Lyon credits first year head coach Marla Looper with helping to expand her game, even though, at first, it was difficult on the hurler to have her second pitching coach in as many years.

“It was pretty tough to have two different pitching coaches,” said Lyon. “I had to go through a transition in styles for the second year in a row.

“Coach Looper really helped me in shoring up my mechanics to get more movement on the ball. She worked with me a lot on the drop ball and my change-up has really gotten a lot better this season.”

Lyon’s successful sophomore season opened her eyes as to the work needed to win consistently at the collegiate level.

“I have to make sure that I am always progressing, always being better the next day,” said Lyon. “I can’t go 50 percent one day in practice… I have to go 100 percent each and every day.

“In this conference you can’t slack off. If you do, you want that time back whenever a tough time comes up in a game. I need to make sure I am working hard day-in-and-day-out.”

Lyon talks like a player that isn’t resting on her laurels. The writing on the wall says there are going to be a few more days like April 23 for the rising Hawkeye junior.