By Jon Wilson ’22 / Sports Information Staff
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- It’ll never be enough for Morgan Sanson.
Four state titles in high school is enough for some, but Sanson wanted more. Softball at Eastern Connecticut State University was the choice out of a trio of sports also including basketball and field hockey. Sanson said she loved the “campus and community of Eastern, and the coaching style of coach Pepin.” Coach Diana Pepin, that is, head softball coach at Eastern for the past 18 years.
Don’t get it twisted, Sanson could have played any of her three sports at the next level. At Thomaston High School, Sanson had been speaking to Eastern head field hockey coach Christine Hutchison and had also looked into playing both field hockey and softball at Western Connecticut State University, like Eastern, a member of the Little East Conference. She also explored the possibility of playing basketball at Western New England University.
When asked why she chose softball, Sanson said, “I couldn’t just give up pitching. I had put too much time and effort into it.” When she made her college choice, Sanson thought softball stood out. There, the verdict was out, softball for four more years in Warrior attire.
Electing softball, Sanson, a left-handed pitcher, excelled in her freshman season, becoming one of the teams most important players. She admittedly struggled at first, but as the season went along, she said “I got a lot more comfortable, and into a good routine.” With the support of the softball seniors, and the rest of the team, Sanson excelled, tallying over 90 innings pitched on the season.
As a freshman, Sanson started the second game of the 2017 season on the Arizona trip against Division III power University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse. She also was summoned in relief in the northern-opening doubleheader at home and made her first start up north four days later against. Her first win came in relief in the second game of an April 8 doubleheader at UMass Boston.
With an 0-3 record, Sanson’s turning point was a bus ride conversation with Pepin to Western Connecticut on April 30 of her freshman season, leading to a career-high ten-strikeout game and her first victory as a starter and first complete game, 3-2. The team’s most effective pitcher in the LEC tournament that year, Sanson pitched 26 2/3 innings over four days while appearing in all four games, starting and completing two, including a 1-0, eight-inning elimination-round win over Keene State College.
As a sophomore, Sanson continued to play a vital role on the team while also earning Little East All-Academic honors. This past season, Sanson helped the team all the way to the national tournament in Tyler, Texas, where the Warriors reached the semifinals. Pepin described Sanson as a “spark-plug who stepped up in many situations,” when speaking of Sanson’s role in Eastern’s deep tournament run.
Two years as an influential member of the Eastern Connecticut softball team, Sanson decided to add more to her plate, joining the field hockey program. Before arriving at Eastern, two sports was an unlikely proposition. Sanson said, “I wasn’t sure how I’d handle the academics while playing sports.” She came to find out that she was more successful in school when she was in season and missed playing field hockey.
Sanson spoke with Hutchison -- who had initially recruited her out of high school -- and joined the program in time for pre-season workouts in the summer of 2018. Hutchinson said “Any more time with Morgan would be great. When she decided to join her junior year, I was all for it.” In fact, Hutchinson believes Sanson should have just played from the start, citing her improved stickwork and capability of playing without a rest throughout an entire game. “It took a lot of hard work to get back into that type of shape,” Sanson recalled. It was worth the hard work, as Sanson grabbed seven goals and added four assists in her first season as a member of the team.
This Saturday as a member of the field hockey program, Sanson and her family will participate in her first of two scheduled Seniors’ Day ceremonies Saturday when the team hosts defending LEC regular-season champion Castleton University at noon at Rick McCarthy Field. Her second Seniors’ Day will come in late April 26 as a member of the softball program.
On top of excelling in two collegiate sports, Sanson is also successful in the classroom. Studying Health Sciences, with a concentration in pre-nursing, she is a member of Phi Theta Delta, the honor society for her major. After Sanson graduates this spring, she has two additional years of schooling to get her Master’s Degree and become an occupational therapist. In addition to playing two sports and carrying an ‘A’ average, Sanson also finds time to work in the athletic department.
Playing, working, and studying while making time for friends and family means Sanson’s life is jam-packed. She continues to shine on the field and in the classroom. Most cannot imagine that type of busyness. Succeeding across the board, one can only ask one question: What will Morgan Sanson do next? You have to imagine that in whatever she chooses, she will not disappoint.