When former Portland High School softball player Mackenzie Fitzgerald remaining the Gulf Shores ballpark in March of 2020, little did she know that would be the final match performed for a handful of months owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fitzgerald did play final fall with the Tennessee MOJO team that received the Triple Crown national championship prior to suiting up for the Tennessee Tech University softball squad that concluded 19-30 this spring.
The faculty sophomore a short while ago mirrored on the previous calendar year and the thrill of remaining again on the softball diamond.
“I cannot even start out to make clear how all set I was to get back on the softball industry,” Fitzgerald stated. “I remember leaving Gulf Shores Park (wherever the Portland Higher softball team was actively playing in a tournament very last March) and thinking COVID would be all in excess of within two weeks and it was just a hoax. Gentleman, was I completely wrong. I was fairly torn up about the total problem for a when, because softball was in essence my way of daily life for as lengthy as I can bear in mind, and it got quickly taken absent.”
Fitzgerald did make a significant impact on her return to the softball diamond in her 1st season at with the Golden Eagles. The sophomore performed in 49 game titles and recorded a homer along with driving in 20 operates, scoring 22 operates and swiping 20 bases.
“I unquestionably felt like I could have accomplished a whole lot much better,” Fitzgerald claimed. “It was a substantial adjustment, but I have discovered from it and look ahead to seeing how I increase next season.”
As with most freshmen, Fitzgerald observed the variation in the pace of the recreation at the university level.
“You are playing the greatest of the ideal and anyone is there and ready to compete every single time they action on the area,” Fitzgerald mentioned. “Yes, the velocity of the game altered immensely.”
Time administration is another facet of a very first-12 months school students’ existence that changes. On the other hand, Fitzgerald felt that she experienced a great deal of expertise in that location.
“I sense like it was an uncomplicated transition for me,” Fitzgerald explained. “I was by now used to possessing great time administration techniques thanks to taking part in journey ball and large-college ball although also getting a work and handling my college operate in substantial university. The amount of practice and weights was a transition. I was not made use of to receiving up at 4:30 a.m. and not finding to bed until finally 10 at night.”
Fitzgerald experienced many highlights from her freshmen year at Tech. Fitzgerald experienced a file variety of damaged belts in a year and was second in the Ohio Valley Conference for stolen bases.
Among the her most memorable moments was hitting her first collegiate home operate against Austin Peay State University. Trailing 6-3, a 3-operate shot by Fitzgerald authorized the Golden Eagles to tie the score at 6-6 in the fourth inning.
“I was pretty content with my freshman period, Fitzgerald reported. “It was every thing I could have ever asked for, and I had so considerably exciting.
“I am looking for factors to be a small a lot more normal this period. COVID seriously transformed everything at the college and sporting activities.”
Fitzgerald experienced some phrases of knowledge for higher schoolers that are all set to choose the subsequent step to college no matter whether they perform sporting activities or not.
“I would just inspire anyone to observe your heart and do what you want to do in existence, no issue what anyone thinks,” Fitzgerald reported. “You can do whatever you set your mind to.”
A exclusive second for Fitzgerald this spring occurred at her residence industry in Portland as the 2020 softball seniors were being regarded in entrance of Lady Panther followers. The group skipped that exclusive night time a yr back when the time was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic after just one 7 days of play.
“It gave me a whirlwind of feelings,” Fitzgerald claimed. “It introduced back the tears from COVID wholly destroying our period, but it also opened my eyes to why I definitely love this in the very first place.
“It was remarkable to see the really like and guidance from our Lady Panther admirers, and it’s a minute I will under no circumstances fail to remember.”