Filler Leads Up-And-Coming Freshman Class
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
During a tumultuous year in Boston College sports, one constant has been the emergence of numerous freshmen as young stars on their respective teams. From Johnny Gaudreau completing the hockey team’s National Championship run with a highlight-reel goal on national television to Blake Butera solidifying his role as a catalyst in the baseball team’s lineup, youthful talent has brought instant excitement to the Heights and hope for a bright future.
The BC softball team has followed this popular trend as well, and its own spark of freshman excellence can be credited to arguably the most prolific Eagle rookie on campus—Andrea Filler.
A high school state championship, all-state honors, and an induction into the National Softball Association Hall of Fame are just a few of Filler’s countless accomplishments so far during her softball career. Regardless of her past successes, the transition from playing in her hometown of Fort Wayne, Ind. to life in a stacked ACC posed a monumental challenge.
“The biggest difference I’ve noticed is that almost every player on every team is good,” said Filler. “In high school, you have a few good people, and then it’s kind of like some other random people that showed up and wanted to play … they had the skills, but everybody at [the Division I] level is top-notch. So it takes a lot to adjust to that, and you just got to believe in yourself and know that you’re a little bit better than that person.”
If her performance on the field so far is any indication, the rookie infielder has taken this challenge in stride and made it an opportunity to assert herself as a collegiate star. A batting average well over .300, along with home run and RBI totals that are some of the highest on the team, have cemented Filler’s spot amongst some of the Eagles’ most skilled veterans as a dependable force in the BC lineup. She’s “adjusted” to collegiate softball with numbers that could inflict fear into any opposing pitcher, but the modest freshman refuses to solely credit her own high-level abilities for the multitude of personal successes in 2012.
“I’ve had a lot of help from my coaches and stuff, and then obviously the upperclassmen have played at that level before, so that helps,” Filler said.
Even so, luck alone can’t take a first-year player like Filler and put her in the top-10 for batting average in the ACC. The commitment, determination, and unquestionable work ethic that once made her a high-achieving student leader—both on and off the field during high school—have carried over to the Heights with superb results.
“It’s kind of cliche, but definitely all of the work you put in through the week—I mean we practice all the time, almost two hours every day—but sometimes you just got to go out there and get a few extra cuts in,” Filler said. “Our coaches have really pushed that on us this year, and so that’s really what I think has helped the most.”
The positive impression BC’s young star has left so far is not only limited to the softball diamond. In speaking with Filler, her team-first attitude is one that garners as much respect as any statistical achievement could. She explained that her most memorable moment so far in an Eagle uniform was cracking two homeruns in one game earlier in the season, but remarked that “we didn’t get the win.” Such a winning mentality is one that head coach Ashley Obrest can certainly build her team around in the coming years.
In a sense, Filler’s selfless approach is yet another reflection of the camaraderie that the BC squad embodies. The freshman standout credits her veteran teammates with making her and the Eagles’ youth feel at home in Chestnut Hill, whether in the midst of an intense ACC matchup or in the classroom.
“You have other teammates that can help you out—with classes and everything, they just tell you ‘take this class, we’ll help you out with it’ or whatever, if they took it before,” Filler said. “Or if you’re having trouble … on the field, they’ll come out with you for 20 minutes and do it so you don’t have to sit there and just stress out about everything and let it get to you.”
Yet the obstacles that the Eagles have faced throughout the season have further encouraged the team to come together, placing young players like Filler in a position of leadership early in their careers.
“We’ve had some key players get hurt this season, so I think all season the coaches and everybody else—once they saw my performance—they’re kind of like, ‘Okay, we want you to step up and be a leader.’ I mean, it’s hard to do that as a freshman just because you know some other people might not accept that … coming from someone who’s a freshman, but I think everyone on the team has accepted that. I did realize that I had to step up when those people got hurt, so it’s kind of just like, step up in your performance and your actions, and everybody will start to follow.”
It’s been this unlikely combination of freshman and veteran leadership that has gotten the Eagles through a season of highs and lows. Yet it’s also allowed the team to improve far beyond expectations in only a year’s time, while convincing Superfans and ACC foes alike that BC will be a force to be reckoned with for a long time. Just as she can recognize a fastball right out of the pitcher’s hand like a veteran well beyond her own age, Filler also has the ability to recognize the boundless potential that will play itself out on Shea Field over the next few years.
“I just want to help out the team as much as I can and keep consisting hitting up … we do have a young team, so I think we’re going to keep developing very well together,” Filler said. “We do lose some good players, but hopefully we’ll pick up some more, and maybe get an ACC Championship under our belt.”