Heather Bowlin is one of three Ute pitchers this season.
March 12, 2003
By: Sam Johnston, Specialty Reporting Class
Utah softball coach, Mona Stevens believes that, "It starts in the circle." The circle is the chalk circle that surrounds the pitching rubber on a softball field. What starts there is a victory. "The pitchers are the emotional leaders, . . . and it all trickles down from there." What trickles down, is the attitude, emotion, energy, and belief that it takes to win.
The three members of the Ute pitching staff understand the expectations placed on them. Senior Jen Purcell, junior Heather Bowlin, and freshman Briann Gourdin are each at different levels in their Utah careers. However, they all know what they need to accomplish when they step into the circle.
Purcell is a leader of the team and a leader of the pitching staff. She feels her role is to, "help the team stay clam but ready all the time." She says "every one goes off of you." Purcell knows the team studies the pitcher and how the pitcher is reacting to the game. If the pitcher gives up a home run or a fielder makes an error and the pitcher reacts negatively, then that attitude can affect the whole team. Bowlin agrees, "Pitchers have eight pairs of eyes on them. We need to stay consistent and positive." Gourdin feels her role is a little different, "I just need to make sure I am always into the game." While the roles of each member of the pitching staff differ, Stevens remains the constant that keeps them together.
Stevens calls every pitch for the Utes. She keeps detailed notes on every batter in the conference. Bowlin says, "Her charts are amazing." "Every batter has a history with Mona." Purcell adds, " There is pressure on the field, but when Mona is calling the game then that is just one less thing I have to worry about."
Each pitcher is alone in the circle during her game. However all three of the pitchers feel a collective responsibility for the challenges and pressure. They also say they feel a relief that coach Stevens is aware of their challenges, and she is running the game.