Playing for the Iowa State softball team that has won its most games (35-23 overall) since 1989, Talyn Lewis has secured the clean-up role in the lineup.
In 38 games played and 22 starts for the Cyclones this season, Lewis has hit .313 with six doubles, two home runs and 15 RBIs.
One of her more impressive traits is her plate discipline as she has drawn eight walks, which puts her at an OBP (on-base percentage) of .415, ranking second on the team behind the All-Big 12 First Team player Sami Williams.
“She has a huge bat, very powerful,” Williams said.
But it has been a long journey to this point for Lewis.
After starting and appearing in 57 of 58 games at third base as a true freshman, Lewis seemed to be a bright spot for the Iowa State softball program.
She was one of Iowa State’s top power threats that year as she ranked second on the team in home runs (6) and RBIs (28).
Lewis showed that it wasn’t a fluke either as she had a great start to her sophomore campaign, hitting .312 with five hits, 5 RBIs, a home run and a double in 16 at-bats.
She looked to be one of Iowa State’s youngsters significantly progressing.
Then, the worst hit for Lewis – a torn ACL.
Lewis missed the rest of the 2018 season and the beginning of this season due to the injury.
“It took our trainers and me tons of hours just to get back into shape,” Lewis said.
Thankfully, Lewis said the NCAA granted her a medical redshirt for the year since she had only played in eight games.
She returned for the 2019 season on a pinch hit appearance against Appalachian State on Feb. 23 — nearly a year after the game she went down against San Jose State on Feb. 18.
Lewis continued to fulfill the pinch hit and defensive substitution duties for a while this year until it was evident she deserved a spot back in the full-time lineup.
“She had a little setback in the fall, and rehab didn’t go her way, which is why she didn’t play much at the beginning of the year, but give her credit for continuing to plug away,” Coach Jamie Pinkerton said.
Especially in times when a player is not in the spot they used to be, it can be easy for them to get discouraged.
But Lewis did not let that happen.
Even in those times when she dealt with not being on the field as much as she was in the past, Lewis did not let that stop her from having an impact on the game.
Lewis is known for being a vocal player that starts chants for many of her teammates in the dugout when they come up to the plate.
“She is fiery," Williams said. "She has great energy and is awesome to have around.”
Ever since the Georgia Tech series when Lewis had returned to the batting lineup as a full-time starter, she has hit .318 with many timely hits, including a two-run home run in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament against No. 9 Texas. The Cyclones ultimately upset the Longhorns 2-0 in the game.
“To see that hard work come to fruition is what I like to see as a coach,” Pinkerton said.
While Lewis has put up the numbers to boast, she credits the people around her for her success.
“It definitely wasn’t easy, but I had a great support staff behind me from my coaches to trainers to my teammates,” Lewis said.
An ACL tear is one that diminishes the performance of many and ends the careers of some, but Lewis prevailed through it all and still has two more years of eligibility with the Cyclones.
“I’m thankful to have her for another year because I know that she will do whatever she can to help the team,” Williams said.