By Ken Lipshez, Record Journal Staff
April 5, 2017
Former Maloney pitcher Paige Uliase has taken her efficient game and modest demeanor to Western New England University where she's made an immediate impact.
Uliase earned citations from the Commonwealth Coast Conference for both Pitcher and Rookie of the Week as the Golden Bears (10-2) swept Eastern Nazarene College last Thursday after returning from a 10-game stint in Florida. Uliase (4-1, 2.26 ERA) threw a five-hit shutout, didn't walk a batter and struck out four. All the hits were singles.
In six games (5 starts) covering 31 innings, she has walked just one and struck out 26 in a style that is more cerebral than it is overpowering.
"First and foremost, she's a very intelligent pitcher," WNEU coach Lori Mayhew-Wood said. "She's going to get people out the way she thinks she can. Our goal is to throw strikes, let people put it in play and let the defense work."
Uliase obviously has made a successful transition to college in general and to the brand of softball played in Division III.
"The difference is we're constantly practicing and it's very individualized," she said. "At Maloney, it was mostly working on offense and defense, but here it's what YOU need to work on rather than what we need to work on as a group.
"[Division III softball] is better because you know the players are playing for the love of the sport," Uliase added. "In high school, some people played just to stay active."
Uliase did express how the Maloney coaching staff headed by Scott Aresco set a family-like foundation on which to expand her career.
"They always did a really good job making sure we always worked as a team," Uliase said. "If one person had a good game, we'd all be happy. It was always a team win. I feel that I had an opportunity to play on a great team and it's the same thing here."
As was the case in the pivotal games Uliase pitched for Maloney, composure is among her top qualities as a competitor.
"She tends to let the game come to her," said Mayhew-Wood, now in her 21st season as WNEU coach. "She doesn't stress out. She's quiet, which is good, because we don't have a lot of quiet kids. She leads by example."
In four varsity seasons at Maloney, Uliase compiled a 51-16 record and a 1.81 ERA in 66 games. She walked just 45 batters in 552 2/3 innings while striking out 471. She was a Class L CHSCA All-Stater as a senior and received All-Conference recognition three times.
"When you watch her in practice, she's not overpowering, but she gets the job done," Mayhew-Wood said. "She spots her fastball very well and throws other pitches for strikes. The big thing is she keeps batters off-balance and her mental state helps her. She keeps herself under control."
Uliase, the daughter of Ronnie and Hazel Uliase, is majoring in criminal justice.