By Dylan Manfre
No matter the day, Anna-Marie Groskritz can be seen all over Rider’s 280-acre campus swerving around on her longboard. The board has become a staple of her go-with-the-flow persona, riding it to class, practice or to Daly’s Dining Hall.
Her casual way of gliding through life and teaching herself new skills have become a reason why she is appreciated by her teammates. They admire her energy and emulate it during games.
“She’s a jack of all trades,” senior pitcher Brooklyn Trujillo-Quintana said. “That girl can play ping-pong, she can longboard, she can pitch. She randomly taught herself how to snowboard. She’s very adventurous, that’s for sure.”
Groskritz can pitch, often utilizing her curveball which is her favorite. She enjoys seeing the ball break inside as well as the velocity and rotation of the ball as it lands in the catcher’s glove.
“It’s fun just to see people swing and miss,” Groskritz said. “It’s definitely a tough pitch to control but it’s a lot of fun.”
During the Penn State series, Groskritz posted a 0.95 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched. She leads the team with 11 complete-game efforts this year.
What impresses Trujillo-Quintana most about her teammate is how calm she is. Rarely will she see Groskritz get flustered in the pitching circle.
How Rider came around
Playing in college was always a goal of Groskritz’. She wanted a picture of herself displayed on her pitching coach of over a decade, George Perlotto’s wall of fame. There are photos of all the players he has coached that have played collegiately.
One day she attended a clinic at Manhattan College when she received a phone call.
It was from Rider Head Coach Davon Ortega. That went to voicemail. Although the call went to voicemail, Groskritz returned the call shortly after and accepted Rider’s offer around two days later. She still has the message Ortega left on the phone.
“Rider was the first [school] that offered me and I liked the coaches so I accepted right away,” she said. “I had other schools I was looking at and that probably would have offered me, but Coach called me Sept. 1. It was one of those things where ‘Oh, she really wants me.’”
In typical Groskritz fashion, she turned the acceptance into a light-hearted joke. She framed the call as if she was declining the offer.
Before joining the Broncs last year, Rider was involved in a heavy rebuilding period and Ortega made that known to the new prospect. Rider had miserable starts to the 2019 and 2020 seasons, going winless through the first 10 games of both. The Broncs ended 2021 at 17-20 and 16-18 in conference play.
“Coach was very clear that we were going to be in a turnaround period and that once she continued to grow the program that we were going to see more success,” Groskritz said. “That was obvious last year when we saw success.”
And that success has poured into this season when the Broncs had multiple winning streaks of three or more games and sit at 16-10. Groskritz, through 64.2 innings pitched, has a 2.16 ERA and 49 strikeouts.