Just months after considering giving up softball -- her favorite sport -- Rachel Seibel was glad she didn't.

Just months after considering giving up softball -- her favorite sport -- Rachel Seibel was glad she didn't.

Seibel, a 2006 graduate of Johnstown-Monroe High School, went on to have a stellar sophomore season for Ohio Wesleyan and was named the North Coast Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year. The left-hander went7-1 with one save in league play with a 0.90 ERA. She pitched 54 1/3 innings and gave up 10 runs, seven earned, on 34 hits and nine walks and struck out 59.

"In comparison to last year, it was definitely the year I wanted to have," Seibel said. "It's not something I want to stop at. I want to keep going up and make sure I don't plateau."

Seibel was 11-11 overall with one save and a 1.93 ERA. She pitched 151 1/3 innings and gave up 54 runs, 30 earned, on 109 hits and 57 walks and struck out 181.

Seibel's freshman season started well with a pair of wins, including a shutout during a trip to Florida, but a nagging soreness in the shoulder of her throwing arm led to a season-long slump in which she threw for just 40 innings.

"It happened during the preseason but it was down in Florida where we knew that I couldn't pitch like that anymore because my arm wasn't making a full circle," Seibel said.

"The summer before college I played travel ball. There was a lot of overuse and I started to form a bad habit which led to injury in my left shoulder, and then to stop it from hurting I would pitch it a different way. I didn't even know I was doing it. I couldn't make a full circle."

The road to making a comeback was not easy. Seibel said that every time she overcome one obstacle, another would present itself and she could not seem to keep on track.

"After my shoulder injury I got sick for a while," she said. "It felt like every time I tried to come back something bad would happen to me. I played through most of it but I was not happy at all with my results. I knew I was a better pitcher than what I was producing. It was really frustrating. In the very last game I played pretty well and I used that as a turning point for this season."

As she started her sophomore year, Seibel had some thoughts that perhaps softball was not her sport. It might have been a return to basketball, a sport she had played during her middle and high school years, that reignited her desire to get back to the diamond.

"I doubted myself a little," Seibel said.

"Then I played basketball and got away from softball for a while. Then I came back and my arm was healthy. I was healthy. My team was all together. I think it made a difference, stepping away from it for a little bit then coming back. I realized I still had a passion for the game. It's what I want to do and I couldn't imagine not playing softball."

Seibel said she had to learn a new way to pitch using the correct mechanics, and that proved to be the most difficult task she had to complete.

"That's probably the toughest thing I've ever had to do," she said. "I think any pitcher would agree with me in saying that if you get into a bad habit, it's so hard to fix. Pitching is such repetition, and once you repeat a bad habit, it sticks with you. I went back to my pitching coach and asked, 'What am I doing wrong?' It took me almost the whole off season to fix it, but luckily I did."

Now after a solid sophomore season, Seibel thinks a bright future is in store for herself and the rest of the Bishops.

"It's given me a lot of confidence for the next few years," she said. "I think that is something our team needs because we are so young. After this season we saw what we can do. We're going to be successful. We just have to stay confident."

Ohio Wesleyan finished second in the NCAC at 10-4, just behind Allegheny at 11-3. The Bishops were 17-21 overall.

Seibel also has a GPA of 3.7 as she pursues a major in economics management.

"I have good grades and I enjoy all the classes I'm taking," she said. "I love the professors there."

Seibel was named to the ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-District IV second team.

The team members are selected by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America, with District IV consisting of schools in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. To be considered for the team a student must maintain a GPA of 3.2 or better.