Pitcher Sami West (‘18) of Gonic, N.H. has been stellar on the mound for Clark Softball. Against strong NEWMAC opponent Wheaton, West gave up only two runs in six innings. She has an ERA of 2.45, good for seventh in the conference. West is majoring in psychology with a minor in education, and plans to obtain a fifth-year master’s degree in education.
Scarlet: How has the season been?
Sami: It started really high for me in Florida. It was really great, and acclimating has been tough, balancing the social life school and sports. I think as a team we are getting the hang of it and doing better every day.
Scarlet: There have been a lot of make up games this season scheduled close to one another. How does that affect the way you play?
Sami: Since I am a junior, this season has been very similar to my first year experience on the team where we didn’t start playing until we had to fit it in the last three weeks of school. So, for softball we have to play about 30 games in the next three weeks, which is a lot, especially when trying to manage the stresses of school. Also we are lucky that the team is very deep, so if we are having an off day because the game was rescheduled, the team will always be ready to face it together. It’s just really nice to be outside and not in the Dolan having to practice.
Scarlet: What is it like to have to pitch so often? It must be really hard without much relief time.
Sami: I would say that this is not abnormal and it gives me an opportunity to play, so if I have a bad day one game, on the next day there is a very strong chance that I can come back and try to show to my team that I am not the pitcher I was yesterday. We also have a five pitcher staff. If I have a bad day, there are four other pitchers who can come in and help out, which has been really nice and not always the case every year.
Scarlet: In the conference game against Wheaton you gave up only two runs, but in the Wellesley conference game things were very different. What was each of those games like for you?
Sami: Wheaton is a very good team, and they have very strong hitters. Being able to pitch and have a performance like that felt amazing. Wellesley was a little different: I had a very bad performance, so bad I had to go to the coach’s office the next day. The Wellesley game was not who I am as a pitcher, and today we faced MIT and I had a better showing than I did in the Wellesley game.
Scarlet: What made you start playing softball? Was there anyone in particular that got you playing?
Sami: So I started playing when I was eight years old. I started in T-ball and a coach had seen me and talked with my parents, so I joined a travel team. My parents were hesitant at first, but they let me decide, and I wanted to try it first before I said no. This coach had a daughter, and he would practice pitching with her, and when I watched, there was nothing I wanted to do more than be in the middle up there pitching. This coach got me into pitching. The reason why I love pitching is because I have so many opportunities to make up if I make a mistake. Not every pitch is life or death; there is always room for improvement.
Scarlet: Is there any position on the field you wish you could play, and why?
Sami: I think it would be really fun to be a coach. I personally just like throwing the ball as opposed to receiving it. If you’ve seen me in when I play, when a ball is thrown at me, I don’t act like a normal pitcher. I try to get somewhat out of the way. Being a coach is really rewarding, and I think that given the opportunity I would really enjoy doing it. Coaches are the ones making sure that everyone on the team is working well and functioning with one another, and being able to help that would be really fun and interesting to me.
Scarlet: Do you have any cool hobbies or hidden talents?
Sami: Not really a talent or a hobby, but in high school, since I played summer ball, I did marching band. I played the trumpet and I wasn’t good, but I really liked hanging out with the music kids. I also did stage crew or the behind the scenes for theater in high school, which was fun, but since I got to college I have been focusing on school and softball.
Scarlet: Of the conference games left, which team poses the biggest challenge for the team?
Sami: On any given day if you ask me who we are playing, I might not be able to tell you until we get there because I am very much of the mindset that no matter who you are pitching, whether someone very good or very bad, whether or not they hit will depend on the pitch given, so I have to make sure to give it my all every pitch. I can’t think of any that would be especially challenging because our conference is very tough to begin with.
Scarlet: What is your favorite memory about the Clark Softball team?
Sami: I can’t pinpoint just one memory, but the training trip in Florida is always really fun. It’s one of the most exhausting and draining weeks of my life. While there, you are playing ten games in five days, and you are with the same people all week long, every second of the day you spend with the same people. Whether you are having a good day or a bad day, you are never alone. You are also building a relationship with the team, especially with the first-years who you don’t get to spend a lot of time with outside of practice. It is really a great trip and I look forward to it every year.
Scarlet: Are you looking forward to the highlight game on the April 22?
Sami: Of course. That game is also our senior game; we are going to be honoring our only senior Lauren Mackey (‘17) and hopefully [some people] will drive people to our game because our field is a little far away from campus. This game means a lot to me because I have been playing with Lauren for a very long time, and now and I get to be there for her at this really big moment. She has been a role model for me. I have had the opportunity to play with Lauren for awhile before I came to Clark, so getting to play with her in college has been really awesome and great. She is an amazing person. Everyone should come to our game. It is going to be a lot of fun!
Thanks for the interview, Sami!