This time of year, Tiger Park is usually filled with loud fans, catchy cheers and the tigers, but the scene this year is much different. Due to COVID-19, the remainder of the softball season and postseason is canceled. As a top 5 team in the nation, Coach Torina felt crushed.
“It was really hard at first. It was devastating, and I think of all my teams this may be the hardest working team I’ve ever had,” Coach Torina said.
Fortunately for Coach Torina, this hard work remains present despite the cancellation of the season. Sophomore pitcher Shelby Wickersham has committed more to the game than ever before.
“I actually pitch every day as if we were still in season," Wickersham said. "A lot of people are like we get to take off now and rest- no that’s the opposite of what’s going on. This is the heart of our season so I’m going to pitch through it like we’re going to the World Series.”
Wickersham isn’t just tossing the ball around a few times a week but is devoting endless hours and days to bettering herself as a pitcher.
“I’m going to pitch fake games and mimic what a season would actually be for me," the pitcher said.
The season Wickersham is mimicking includes 31 regular-season games, the SEC tournament and the playoffs. Although, Wickersham wouldn’t technically be pitching every game. Softball pitchers average around 100 pitches per game, which can lead to over 700 pitches per week, according to OrthoNebraska.
“It’s going to be clear to see who has been working hard and who has been practicing and that’s my motivation right now too," Wickersham continued. "I want to go back and show that I want this- our team wants this…This time is going to separate the good players from the great players.”
And Wickersham intends to be a great player who hasn’t gone unnoticed by her coach.
“I’m proud of Shelby and what she’s doing. I’m proud that she’s continuing to attack every day and have her routine and working to try to win LSU their first National Championship when she gets the opportunity," Torina said.
And that’s what Wickersham plans to do.
“The end goal is always winning the World Series for a team," Wickersham said. "I want to work upon what we were building at the beginning of this season and hopefully, just go into next season without skipping a beat and that’s really my main goal.”
When asked to describe Wickersham in one word, Coach Torina said persistent- and it’s not hard to see why. But for now, the mound at Tiger Park will remain vacant, but Wickersham will continue to make her mound wherever she can.