Back in her home state, Regan Kerr came through at the plate for Maryland softball

Designated player Regan Kerr swings at a pitch during Maryland's 6-4 win over Rhode Island at Maryland Softball Stadium on March 14, 2019. (Alex Chen/The Diamondback)

In the bottom of the fourth inning of Maryland softball’s matchup against Wisconsin Saturday, Regan Kerr faced an 0-2 count. She held on for six more pitches.

When Kerr finally saw the perfect pitch, she swung and hit a double down the left field line. That two-run double was the momentum the Terps needed to take the lead and ultimately secure a 5-4 win over a Big Ten opponent.

Looking back at Kerr’s “clutch hit,” coach Mark Montgomery noted how strong she battled during the at-bat. Though she found success at the plate, he wants her to “get to the point where she doesn’t have to put herself in that first hole of being down 0-2.”

Kerr’s growth at the plate between last year and now is quickly trending upwards. Her current batting average is .306, compared to last year’s average of .193. With five hits over five games at the Sun Devil Classic, the sophomore has shown up to the plate and appears more confident as the season progresses.

“I think physically, my swing is the same,” Kerr said. “Just staying confident and disciplined has helped me a lot.”

[Read more: Arizona State pummels Maryland softball in 16-2 mercy-rule win]

Kerr said she’s focusing on her presence at the plate and mental awareness in the box this year. When she steps up to the plate, she knows “what needs to be done and how to approach each at bat” — and that’s exactly what she did in Saturday’s close battle against the Badgers.

Infielder Anna Kufta said she sees Kerr’s improvement from last year to this season, and she believes Kerr is a “key component” in the team’s lineup.

“I don’t know if impressed is the right word,” Kufta said. “I always knew Regan was a good player and capable of what she did against Wisconsin. … I am proud of her. She stepped up this weekend.”

[Read more: Maryland softball beats Southern Utah and loses to Arizona State in Sun Devil Classic]

Aside from the three wins, including two against Southern Utah, last weekend in Arizona also brought Kerr back to her roots. Kerr said she felt humbled to be back in her home state, playing on a field where she grew up watching softball.

“As a little girl, I always looked up to the girls that played on that field,” Kerr said, “and being able to be the girl I always looked up to is a very fulfilling experience.”

The infielder felt a warm welcome home and was overjoyed by the attendance of friends and family who came to watch her play throughout the weekend.

The Kerr family hosted a get-together for the team on Saturday. While the wins were the main highlight in Arizona, Montgomery said it was a good opportunity for the team to get closer.

“It was just a really special day — not only winning the two games — but then having the bonding and the family atmosphere of Maryland softball at the Kerr household,” Montgomery said.

The coach is proud of Kerr’s achievements so far this season — including that clutch two-run double against Wisconsin — but continues to seek improvement from her as a young player.

“She’s still got a long way to go,” Montgomery said, “but I have seen a lot of growth out of Regan.”

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