Marie Prins: ‘all in’
Friday, June 01, 2012
By Lynn Rosendale
As the only senior on this year’s softball team, Marie Prins knows a thing or two about leadership. “It’s been a journey for me,” said Prins. “I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a leader and captain of this team.”
Prins stuck with the program through a coaching change and a few rocky seasons. “I’ve taken it one year at a time,” she said. “My freshman year we only won four games, and last year, we only won six.”
This year, though, the Knights finished with 15 wins—their best effort since 2005. “We’ve made a ton of progress the last few years, and this year we had our most talented team since I’ve been here.”
Prins was a major contributor to the 15-win season this year, leading the team with a .394 battting average—the highest season average since 2005—and 41 hits. But beyond that, she was a role model for the younger players and a team promoter among recruits.
“She put her heart into Calvin softball for four years, and she will really be missed,” said coach Sharon DeKleine.
For Prins, it’s always been about being “all in,” she said. “Softball has been my passion my whole life; I’ve been playing since I was four years old. It feels like I’ve worked so hard for so long at this; it’s hard to believe my career is winding up.”
A standout player at Unity Christian High School (Hudsonville, Mich.), Prins has worked steadily to improve. “Unity has a super successful program,” she said, “so it was difficult coming to Calvin at first. But I saw it as an opportunity to build on, and I tried to focus on the things I could control.”
So Prins set out to be the best hitter she could be. “I’ve always been passionate about hitting,” she said. “But, this year I learned to be more patient. With a good hitter (sophomore Lina Avila) batting behind me, it was so important for me to get on base.” Prins’ patience paid off with 22 walks and an on-base percentage of .435.
She also set out to become a good leader. “I went to Gainey [Leadership Retreat] the summer after my first year, and I felt that being a leader was something that God was calling me to,” she said. “I dedicated myself to really encouraging and motivating the girls on this team. Despite the fact that we had a lot of losses, I really worked at finding the good in everything.”
That attitude helped get the program headed in the right direction, according to DeKleine. “We have a number of recruits coming in that will strengthen the program, and that combined with our younger returning players will help us pursue excellence both on and off the field.”
Prins’ goal was to instill her passion in the younger players that she had the chance to influence, she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team,” she said. “I’ve felt that since my freshman year; that’s what kept me going every year.”
For her efforts this year, Prins was recognized by the league coaches by being named to the All-MIAA second team. She concluded her Calvin career with a four-year batting average of .336.
A social work major, Prins will return in the fall to complete her internship with the Kent County courts system; she also hopes to coach high school softball.
“This is a new stepping stone for me,” she said. “The next time I step on a softball field I might be coaching.
“I know that I’ve learned a lot about how to orchestrate a team, how to develop team chemistry and what it takes to build a program. I know those skills will help in whatever I do in the future.”