After dominating the MIAA as a freshman last season, the last thing pitcher Jackie Bishop is concerned about is slipping into a sophomore slump. In fact, she’s never even heard of such a thing.
“Is there really one?” Bishop said. “I’d like to think there wasn’t. I’ve never heard of one; hopefully that doesn’t happen.”
Bishop accumulated a 26-5 record as a freshman with a 1.22 earned run average and struck out 224 batters, holding teams to a .198 batting average. She was named MIAA player of the week three times, MIAA Freshman of the Year and was named First Team All-MIAA after the season. She threw two no hitters, including one in the first ever game played at the Spring Sports Complex. Coach Jen Bagley expects her super-sophomore to build on the great start to her Missouri Western career.
“I need Jackie to do at the very minimum what she did last year,” Bagley said. “It’s difficult being a freshman and coming back for your sophomore year as a pitcher because now everybody in our conference has a scouting report on what she throws. Everybody is trying to figure out how to pick her lock.”
Bishop’s strongest pitches are her rise ball and curve ball, but she has been focusing on adding pitches to her repertoire to make sure that she isn’t predictable to hitters that she saw last season. She knows that she won’t surprise anyone this season.
“Since everyone faced me last year, I’m going to have to mix my pitches up better and throw some extra pitches, throw lower since I threw a lot of high stuff last year,” Bishop said. “Just a better pitch selection.”
The Griffons lost senior starting pitcher Jonnelle Belger off last season’s team. Belger played a big role in showing Bishop the ropes and countering her on the mound.
“She is probably one of the best mentors a person could have coming into their freshman year,” Bishop said. “She really is one of my best friends; she was a great pitcher and a great leader. She helped me out a lot.”
Despite the loss of Belger, Bagley expects the additions of junior college transfers Emily Moe and Annalee Rubio to help take the pressure off of Bishop.
“I think she feels more pressure. I don’t feel like we need to put more pressure on her because she is surrounded by two other strong pitchers,” Bagley said. “I hope she feels some comfort in that and doesn’t feel like the needs to be the one. We don’t need her to be the one, we need her to be Jackie, and we will make sure we do our job on the other side of the ball and score enough runs. “
Bishop’s team goals for the season are for the team to win the MIAA conference and make regionals.
“For myself, I just want to stay positive out on the field and help my team get as many wins as we can get,” Bishop said.