Elly Novak

Tri-City United senior ace pitcher Elly Novak goes the distance for the 7-4 win over St. Peter this season. (Pat Beck/St. Peter Herald)

Tri-City United senior Elly Novak didn’t automatically become one of the best softball pitchers in the state. It took a lot of hard work.

TCU head coach Phil Murry said Novak reached this level through “her work ethic. She has worked very hard year round to get better.”

Novak has been selected to participate in the 2019 Minnesota High School Softball All Star Series sponsored by the Minnesota Fastpitch Coaches Association and the Minnesota Twins.

The All Star Series takes place on Sunday, June 9 at Caswell Park in North Mankato. Player introductions are at 3 p.m. First round games begin at 3:30 p.m. Second round games are at 5 p.m.

Twenty-two senior players from each Class (A, AA, AAA, AAAA), 88 seniors in total, are selected for this honor. Players are first nominated by their high school coach with their high school softball career statistics. Nominated players are then voted on by members of the Minnesota Fastpitch Coaches Association. 2019 is the 31st year of the event.

A powerful and crafty pitcher, Novak holds the TCU record with 800 strikeouts in just 332 innings. She has a career record of 46-65-1, including a best of 14-8 this season.

“She has always had the physical tools to be a pitcher, but so do a lot of people,” Murry said. “It takes a lot of people for someone to realize their potential and the desire to put in the work. She has had a personal pitching coach since before she started throwing for me as seventh-grader on the B-squad.”

Novak throws five pitches: fastball, change, curve, drop and rise.

“In previous years I would have said curve, it was her ‘out’ pitch,” Murry said. “This year it became her rise ball. She probably used that pitch to strike out most of her batters.

“She has good movement on all her pitches, and she learned more about when and where to throw certain pitches this year.”

Novak is one of the best pitchers in TCU and Le Center softball history.

“I’ve had some really good pitchers over the years, and she ranks with the best,” Murry said. “They each brought a little something different to the table.”

Novak has signed to continue her softball career at the College of St. Benedict’s, a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference school in St. Joseph.

Novak, who has a .423 career batting average with 15 home runs, nine triples, 49 doubles and 80 RBIs, might be a better hitter than a pitcher actually, Murry said. “She ended her career with over 160 hits, and not many people wanted to pitch to her.”

She is the first TCU girl to make the All Star Team. Murry’s last All Star was his daughter, Taylor Farm (Murry), the pitching coach in 2011. “Over the years, I have had six or seven All Stars,” Murry said.

“Elly is a unique individual,” he added. “I think that she has the potential to be a very good college player. She has dedicated her life (12 months a year) to realize her dream of playing at the next level. I hope that her college career is everything she hopes it will be.”

Reach Sports Editor Pat Beck at 931-8566 or follow him on Twitter.com @SPHSportsPat.

St. Peter Herald Sports Editor covers St. Peter, Cleveland, Le Center, Le Sueur-Henderson and Tri-City United and Gustavus Adolphus College. Fishing, tennis and golf enthusiast

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