A Star is Born


he first time Susannah Anderson stepped on the mound, it wasn’t for softball. Boston College’s star pitcher, rather, made her start on the baseball field. 

The daughter of two athletic parents, Anderson found her calling on the field early on and hasn’t looked back since.

Anderson’s athletic roots run deep, as each of her immediate family members have played a varsity sport at the collegiate level, save for her younger sister Scarlet, who is still in high school. Her mother, Bilyana Anderson, played volleyball for Tennessee Tech and her father, Chris Anderson, played football for Tennessee Tech. Susannah’s brother recently graduated from the University of Rhode Island, where he was an offensive lineman for the Rams.

Chris not only made an impact on Susannah’s early start to the sport via her introduction to baseball—coaching her youth baseball team—but he also helped her with the switch over to softball.

“I started [by] playing baseball, and eventually you’re the only girl on your team, so you gotta make the switch over to softball if you really want to compete,” said Anderson. “[My dad] was one of my baseball coaches and one of my softball coaches, so having him [there] made me want to keep playing.”

Anderson’s decision to remain on the mound would be one that would have rippling effects for years to come. Anderson attended Mount Vernon High School, where her father had won the 1983 state championship as a member of Mount Vernon’s football team and where he currently coaches the varsity softball team.

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nderson made an impact on the varsity team as soon as she stepped on the field, becoming the team’s starting pitcher her freshman year. In her first year on the team, Anderson recorded a 1.6 ERA and 158 strikeouts en route to earning her first All-Conference honor, an award that she would earn in her sophomore and junior year as well. Her junior year, Anderson pitched a 1.6 ERA, matching her previous high, and finished the season with a career-best .579 batting average. 

In addition to her high school career, Anderson began pitching for a travel team, NJ Intensity, in 2016. The Intensity is a program known for producing high-quality players that often go on to play on Division I teams. During her tenure with the Intensity, Anderson led the 18U KOD Premier National team to a ninth-place finish in 2017 and fifth-place finish in 2018.

“The more I progressed and got better, the more I wanted to see how far I could get,” said Anderson.

For Anderson, BC was the ideal candidate for a place to continue her softball career. In addition to the fact that BC was D1 school, she also loved the idea of being near a city. Growing up in northern Virginia near Washington D.C., Anderson knew that she wanted whatever college she chose to have a similar atmosphere. Of course, it helped that the Heights had its eyes on Anderson as a possible recruit.

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“Susannah checked every box in what we were looking for in an elite pitcher, but we were also looking for a competitor, a young lady who is determined to win an ACC championship, and an athlete that has the right mindset,” former head softball coach Ashley Obrest said in a 2017 interview with Covering the Corridor. “We couldn’t be more excited to have Susannah in our program.”

Anderson formally committed to BC in November 2017 after verbally expressing her commitment in January of the same year. And as she arrived at BC, Anderson knew she had made the right decision. 

But Anderson wouldn’t be alone in her transition, as former Intensity teammate Gianna Boccagno would be joining her on the Heights.

Boccagno wasn’t Anderson’s only major connection on the team. Anderson also had a mentor in Kendra Friedt, who was also a pitcher for the Eagles and had helped lead BC through two winning seasons. Friedt, who was a senior when Anderson first came to the Heights, helped her with the transition to college and the pressure of being a student-athlete at a D1 school. 

“[Kendra] just looked out for me and held my hand whenever I needed it,” said Anderson.

A high from Anderson’s first year came early on in the season, as the Eagles took on Florida International in what was one of the most exciting games of the season, according to Anderson. BC had just come off a frustrating 1-4 loss against Central Florida.

But Anderson’s favorite moment from the season, which occurred during that game, had nothing to do with Anderson herself. In the seventh inning, Boccagno stepped up to the bat, facing down a tied game. But she wasn’t just looking at any old pitcher—she was facing her high school pitcher, Allison Muraskin. Boccagno hit a home run, winning the game for the Eagles. 

That game was really fun because we were going back and forth the whole game,” said Anderson. “It was a very low-scoring game—maybe 2-2 or 1-1—then my roommate [Boccagno] came up and … hit a bomb off [Muraskin].”

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ollowing the Eagles’ difficult 2019 season—BC completed the year with a record of 18-35 and 4-20 in the ACC—came a dramatic shakeup in the team. Not only would four graduating seniors be leaving the team, but the coaching staff was also turned over, as Amy Kvilhaug was hired as head coach after Obrest resigned.

With a completely different coaching staff coming to the Heights, as well as a fresh group of freshmen, the team’s atmosphere has completely changed, Anderson said. But for her, this new dynamic has had some positive effects on the team.

“We have a lot of love on the team. … The new coaches really support us [and have] had our back throughout the whole year,” she said. “You make mistakes—you do good, you do bad—they still love you at the end of the day.”

And with a new coaching regime comes a whole new set of expectations. At the beginning of the year, Anderson set her goals for herself: to have a lower ERA than last season and to make a good run through the ACC tournament. 

Anderson’s ERA after her 2019 campaign was 3.94 in her 49 appearances, registering six wins and 19 losses. While some of that can be attributed to the Eagles’ tumultuous season last year, Anderson is nothing if not persistent. 

As for her goal of making the ACC tournament, it’s too early to make a prediction. The team has gone 5-8 over the first three weekends of the 2020 campaign, and the Eagles have yet to face an ACC rival. But despite this early adversity, Anderson remains optimistic. 

“Despite [our] losses, we haven’t gotten blown out—we’re in every game,” said Anderson. “Nobody gives up. Everybody gives it their all every day.”

Olivia Charbonneau

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