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Star pitcher fights nerves as she prepares for spring season

Consistency and a positive attitude are what starting pitcher Jackie Bishop hopes for that will help bring Western softball success as she leads the team with over 30 all-time rankings including first in most strike-outs and second in both shutouts and strikeouts.

“It’s hard because it’s my third year and I’ve faced everyone for three years and I need to step my game up because they are going to know exactly what I throw,” Bishop said.

The 21-year old has built all of these records in just a few years. Though she appears to be the big beast behind the mound, deep down she’s just trying to hold back her nerves and keep her confidence throughout the game.  In order to do this, she can’t focus on her stats, she said.

“I just try to be positive as I can and relax,” Bishop said. ‘The team knows I get nervous but I’m trying to not show as many nerves this year. You just have to realize that sometimes stuff’s going to fall your way and sometimes it’s not. You have to let it go and move on,” she added.

One thing that Bishop is currently working on is perfecting her drop ball that she hopes will throw the batters off their rocker, especially the ones that have seen her before on the mound. Head softball coach Jen Bagley noted that overall Bishop is the pitcher she was two years ago, but this drop ball will only add to her success.

“[It] will help her as we go further into the season because that’s something team’s haven’t seen yet,” Bagley said.

Bagley included that the number one improvement that she’s seen in Bishop has been her in mental game and growing wisdom on the field. She’s definitely not the young kid anymore, she explained.

“Being a pitcher sometimes its hard to be a team leader because there’s so much responsibility just on your own self that’s necessary,” Bagley said. “The maturity is Jackie is only going to allow her to get stronger. That’s probably the one thing that held her back in the past was just being young. Now nothing’s changed except that she’s two years older.

A positive outlook and an optimistic perspective are the main things that the team must have for a successful year. For Bishop, she understands that it all starts with her. No matter how the ball falls from her hand, if she can stay level headed and mentally focused, she knows her team will follow.

“She’s a very, very involved player leading by her ability on the field,” senior catcher  Keri Lorbert said. “When Jackie’s feeling confident in what she’s throwing for the day, the whole team has more confidence,” Lorbert said.

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