Ryan Chartrand

Cal Poly softball star Lisa Modglin has achieved new heights for her team this season and finds herself among national leaders in several statistics.

The senior center fielder has been at the forefront of the best season since 1997 for Cal Poly (33-12, 8-1 Big West Conference).

“She’s equally strong offensively as well as defensively,” Cal Poly head coach Jenny Condon said. “She basically sets the tone for our offense.”

Entering her team’s home series against Big West rival UC Santa Barbara with a noon doubleheader Saturday and the capper at noon Sunday, Modglin is fifth among all Division I players in batting average (.489). She is also third in slugging percentage (.993), ninth in home runs per game (0.37) and 11th in RBI per game (1.12).

Modglin, though, has focused on fixing her weaknesses, and her teammates have taken notice.

“She is just unbelievable,” Cal Poly senior infielder Shannon Brooks said. “I would compare her to one of the best (players) in the country. . She’s worked pretty hard to get it, and I’m really happy for her that she’s having the success that she is.”

Cal Poly sophomore shortstop Melissa Pura thought that Modglin helps boost the team’s morale on the field.

“Softball is a big game,” Pura said. “When you have someone doing well, it’s a confidence builder.”

As for Modglin herself, she thought playing softball for the Mustangs was an “awesome” experience. She felt that softball gave her a lot of learning experience.

“I don’t think that there’s any other place that would be better for me,” Modglin said. “I really like our program and everything that comes with it.”

Modglin, along with her teammates, thought of themselves more as a family than a team. In fact, her coach noted her dedication to ensure that the team will make the NCAA Tournament in May.

The Mustangs were controversially left out of the field in 1997, 2005 and 2006.

“She’s a good teammate,” Condon said. “She’s worried about the success of the team. The one thing she wants is for this team to be successful and to get to the postseason.”

Condon also commented on Modglin’s possible future in the professional ranks.

“Hopefully she gets a shot to go into the National Team program,” Condon said.

Modglin, however, stated that she has made no immediate plans to turn into a pro softball player.

She originally played softball as a child thanks to her family’s involvement in sports and recreation.

“I’ve been playing since I was 6 years old,” Modglin said. “My family is really athletic, and my brother always played baseball. So I kind of followed in his footsteps and played softball.”

Between balancing demands of training and expectations from her classes, Modglin and the rest of the team try to manage their time wisely. But Condon said that Modglin has found time to leave her mark on the softball program.

“Her impact on this program has been great,” Condon said. “In the three years I’ve been here, the program has done nothing but continue to get better. And Lisa has been a big part of that along the way.”

Despite all her success, Modglin realizes that playing softball, collegiate or professional, has its limits.

“Softball can only take you so far,” said Modglin, a business major. “I go to a good school, so it’s important to have a good education, which is crucial in order to have a life after softball.”

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