Standing at the heart of the diamond, the pitcher is both the figurative and literal center of each and every ballgame. Being part of the action on every single play can certainly take its toll on anyone’s arm, but for softball pitchers it’s just part of the job. Softball pitchers are expected to toss complete games in all of their outings. Considered a rarity in baseball, complete games are the default in softball and pitchers train accordingly. Junior Corrin Spallone, who pitches for Geneseo’s softball team, said that despite the appearance, going the distance each game is not too difficult with the right training.
“For a baseball player, it’s harder to throw overhand,” Spallone said. “It’s a more natural motion to throw underhand, so we don’t have the same shoulder injuries that baseball players have.”
Given their windmill-style delivery, softball pitchers rely on their legs and core to help them throw faster. That’s why you’re more likely to find them on the treadmill than hitting the weights. “You do a lot of abs and running. You want to gain endurance,” Spallone added.
Once they’ve taken the field, there are a number of things pitchers can do to stay loose and make sure they make it through all seven innings. Wearing a jacket between innings and refraining from strenuous dugout cheering helps, according to Spallone: “Even if it’s really warm out I put on a jacket to stay warm. I don’t do a lot of yelling and shouting because I’m trying not to overexert myself, mentally and physically.”
With such a packed schedule – it’s not uncommon for the team to play six games over the course of a weekend – it’s important for pitchers to heal in between starts. Icing down after pitching appearances helps them limit soreness so they’re ready to go the next day – pitchers typically throw every day.
For pitchers on the Knights squad, training extends beyond the mound. Unlike in baseball where pitchers are essentially an automatic out, softball pitchers are expected to contribute equally at the plate.
“[Sophomore] Mikayla Moore is a starting pitcher and she can definitely hit,” said Spallone. “[Coach David Sylvester] told us at the beginning of the year that he’s going to expect the pitchers to hit.”
This season, the Knights’ team E.R.A. is just 2.56, to their opponents’ 3.01. Geneseo has also tallied 185 strikeouts against 96 walks. Pitching may not be an easy job, but Geneseo’s pitchers have proven to be up to the task.