Priority on pitching for the Lady Blues

Michael Vander Linden / Washburn Review

When at a softball game, one may notice that only one player touches the ball on every play. This would be the pitcher. Looking for ways to make outs and limit the opposing team from getting on the scoreboard, a lot is riding on the performance of this athlete.

“We’re definitely leaders out there,” said Kayla Oldham, freshman pitcher. “We set the tone that everyone builds off of; we do our best so everyone else will do theirs.”

With this amount of stress put on the pitchers, the girls that step on the mound realize they must do everything they can to prepare for the game. Senior Lindsey Moore admits to warming up the longest out of everyone, and may not even be happy with her warm up if everything does not go to plan.

The warm ups start with running and stretching for most of the girls. After warming up throwing, the pitchers leave their team to start their bullpen. A bullpen is an area set off of the field where pitchers are allowed to throw to their catchers like a game situation.

Moore likes to start from half of the distance they actually pitch to get a feel for everything she is throwing. After becoming confident from there, she moves back to the actual distance where she throws five of each pitch she has in her arsenal. Then she lets the catcher mix up each pitch and work on location.

“Finally, I end with pretending there is a batter hitting from each side,” said Moore. “If I’m comfortable then I’m done, and if not I just keep working.”

Once they move into the game, motions get a little different. Oldham admits that the lower body is just as important in a pitch as her arm. Before she  throws, she rocks back to build momentum and lunges forward as her arm circles around.

“It’s important for my legs to be strong,” said Oldham. “I’ve noticed that if my legs aren’t ready to go, then it will be a long day on the mound.”

Yet, if their legs are ready, the girls can tell that they are throwing well. Many factors go into a successful game. Just some of them include throwing their best, hitting the spots, getting ground balls and pop flies, and staying on top of batters to limit walks.

“We really focus on getting the first out of the inning,” said Moore. “If we can do all of these things, then I look back and know I had a really good day out on the mound.”

A major difference between baseball and softball is the amount of time that they need before they can get back out to pitch. In softball, women find themselves pitching back to back games during some occasions.

“Softball pitching is a natural motion, so it doesn’t hurt our arms,” said Moore. “We’re always ready to go as soon as we’re asked to get out there.”