Pitching queen of Class B

DLB-LC sophomore pitcher turning heads and taking names

Alex Eisen/MDN Des Lacs-Burlington/Lewis & Clark sophomore pitcher Erica Hermanson (4) delivers a pitch in a Class B softball game at the South Hill Softball Complex.

When Erica Hermanson steps on the mound, the world disappears and it’s just her, the ball, the batter and her catcher. She has been a part of a varsity team since the seventh-grade and was the first eighth-grader to ever make the all-state team in North Dakota.

Des Lacs-Burlington/ Lewis & Clark head coach Mel Erickson has been coaching Hermanson for four years now or her entire varsity career.

“She throws the ball very well for a young lady,” Erickson said. “She has improved every year and I don’t expect it to stop because she has a good work ethic.”

Hermanson began pitching when she was eight-years-old, but has been playing the game since she was five. To her, softball is a passion that she devotes any free time she can to.

“I’ve worked so hard to be where I’ve gotten right now,” she said. “It feels like I’ve accomplished so much and I am just going to try my best to get better, better myself.”

She loves to spread her knowledge of the game to the girls around her. She said she feels like a mentor for the younger girls on the team. Hermanson is happy that the younger girls look up to her and she looks forward to passing down whatever knowledge she can before she graduates.

So far this season, Hermanson has thrown two shutout games, a no-hitter, a one-hitter and 89 strikeouts.

“The thing is, when you’re pitching, you cannot think about it and it’s all mechanics,” Hermanson said. “When pitching, you always take accuracy over speed, always.”

Erickson said she holds the record for most strikeouts at DLB-LC as a sophomore.

“She’s a leader. The girls follow her because they know she’s the best,” Erickson said. “She’s the best in the region, she’s probably the best in the state, in Class B.”

Behind every great pitcher is the catcher. For Hermanson, she has become close to the person receiving all her pitches, freshman Brynley Benno.

“Me and (Brynley) have gotten close because of the storm program,” Hermanson said. “At first, we kind of didn’t like each other, but me and (Brynley) have this really special bond right now. I definitely wouldn’t want to be on the field playing without her.”

Erickson said the pair work extremely well together. Benno has an arm as catcher that he hasn’t seen in a freshman.

“It’s very important to have a catcher you can depend on,” he said.

Hermanson said a lot of the girls on the team play softball outside of the season. She participates in the Minot Storm Fastpitch softball league, working with Thor Nelson.

Over the winter, Hermanson was able to work on her skills in the new MSU air-supported dome and even got to work with some of the Minot State softball players thanks to Nelson.

“It was a great experience,” Hermanson said. “The college girls have been taught many different things and they just kind of learn to their level and they started doing their own thing and you get a variety of things you could possibly do or change and it’s just a really good experience.”

As well as working on her pitching, Hermanson also worked on her hitting. The last few years, she said she hasn’t been the best at the plate, but she feels like she’s improved so much and that it is possible to be a good pitcher and a good hitter.

Hermanson said that working with Nelson and being able to play softball year-round has made a huge impact on her life and is something she’s grateful for.

In addition to being dominant on the field, Hermanson strives for excellence academically as well. Recently, she was inducted into the National Honor Society at Des Lacs High School.

“I take academics way further than sports and that always comes before sports, always,” she said.

The four main aspects of the NHS are scholarship, service, leadership and character. Hermanson said on her application, she used her experience helping the younger girls as part of her leadership and service.

Growing the DLBLC softball program is something Hermanson is passionate about doing in her final high school years. In recent years, she says they team has graduated a lot of players, but with most of their team consisting of younger girls, it’s time to work together, improve together and leave a mark on the program.

“We have a good, young team to help out with that,” she said.

Sports Spotlight is a weekly feature profiling interesting people affiliated with sports in the region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Sports Editor Garrick Hodge at 1-800-735-3229 or email the sports

department at sports@minotdailynews.com