JACKSON TWP — No senior season? No problem.
At least, not when it comes to Seneca Valley center fielder Julia Ehrman adjusting to collegiate softball next year at Robert Morris University.
“It stinks, not being able to have a season (due to COVID-19), don't get me wrong,” SV softball coach George Trew said. “Julia would have been a team captain this year, definitely one of our leaders.
“She would have excelled on the field for us. But she's been doing that since she was a freshman. As hard as she works, I know she'll step right into their program ready to go.”
Ehrman would have been a fourth-year starter for the Raiders this spring. Her career high school on-base percentage is .525.
She's led Seneca Valley in stolen bases every year. Last year, Ehrman hit .351, scored 18 runs, walked 10 times and stole nine bases.
“I've been working on slap-hitting,” Ehrman said. “This is the year I was going to make that a big part of my game.
“I'm still practicing at it, slapping the ball off a tee ... It's just not the same as doing it with live pitching.”
Trew said Ehrman has nothing to worry about.
“She's got the ability to slap-hit, not that she needs it,” the coach said, laughing. “If Julia hits a ground ball that bounces twice, she's on first base.”
Ehrman admitted speed is a big part of her game. She's played center field for the past two seasons.
“I try to hit the ball on the ground and beat out infield hits,” she said. “But I can take full swings and hit the ball that way, too.
“My strength is my speed, baserunning and range in the outfield.”
Ehrman's overall softball season isn't over. She plays summer ball for the Pittsburgh Passion, with that season beginning May 30 and running through July.
“I guess I'll just have to wait and see on that,” she said of the status of the summer season.
Carrying a 4.8 grade point average in high school, Ehrman plans to study biology on a pre-med track at Robert Morris. She plans to become an allergist.
“My brother has allergies and I want to help people like him,” she said.
After also considering UNC-Wilmington, Ehrman is joining a Robert Morris softball program coming off five consecutive losing seasons, including 8-11 in an abbreviated 2020 campaign.
From 2017-19, the Colonials won 43 games while losing 110. Because collegiate spring sports seniors were granted another year of eligibility, Colonial senior outfielder Briana Buhner — the team's leading hitter at .339 last season — can return next year.
Robert Morris has four other returning outfielders, including sophomore Laura Bell, who hit .308.
“My goal right now is to go in there and do a good job, do whatever the coach wants me to do,” Ehrman said. “We can all work together and have a winning season.
“I'm not concerned about whether I start right away. I want to get some playing time, sure, but that stuff will sort itself out.”
Trew has little doubt Ehrman will help RMU as a freshman.
“With her speed and athleticism, they'll find a place for her,” he said. “Julia has so much ability.”
Jexx Varner is in his second season as coach of the Colonials.
“He took interest in me as a person, not just a player,” Ehrman said. “He cares about people and I think he'll turn the program around.
“The goal is to win. I have to keep working and improving myself to help make that happen.”