TAMPA, Fla. – Morgan Gross has excelled with an increased workload during her junior season with the University of South Florida Bulls.
Raised in Reno, Nev., Gross earned All-State First Team Honors in her final year playing at Earl Wooster High School, but was forced to take on a reduced role when she joined the Division I Bulls as a freshman walk-on in 2015.
“Coming here and sitting on the bench has taught me not only to appreciate the game more, but also realize ‘Wow, you’re still important,’ everyone has a job on this team,’” said the catcher, before a recent practice. “Each player is a puzzle piece and only when we all come together do we have a chance to be successful.”
Due to a multitude of injuries that have decimated the Bulls roster in the early part of the 2017 campaign, Gross has emerged as the team’s every day catcher.
“It’s been a rollercoaster. My mentality has always been to approach everything I do the best that I can,” said the student athlete. “Like the last two years my approach was to be the best bullpen catcher I could be, so the pitchers had the best opportunity to go out there and get us the win.
“Now this year, my job is to actually go out there and play, so it’s been really rewarding to see all the hard work I put in pay off.”
Gross’s ability to step in and weather the storm has received considerable praise from head coach Ken Eriksen.
“She was an incredible worker her first two years here, and now she has responded really well to going out every day and being our starter, and believe me, it’s not easy, it’s a huge physical and mental strain,” said Eriksen, relaxing in the dugout before the workout began. “She’s been the MVP of our team this year.”