Senior pitcher on the Chapman women’s softball team Natalie Both is a three-time All-SCIAC (Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) recipient, as well as earning All-West Region Third Team in 2013.
1. How old were you when you started playing softball and why did you start?
I started playing in a rec league when I was 10 because I wanted to play every sport and I hadn’t really tried softball yet. I was terrible and wanted to quit right away, but my dad made me try pitching and that’s when I started to enjoy it.
2. Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?
I don’t really have any pregame rituals but I am pretty superstitious about my routine on the mound. Each time we take the field for defense, I like to grab the ball first before anyone else touches it. And between every pitch, I walk the same direction back to the mound, and grab dirt. I don’t know why, but it makes me feel more in control if I stick to a routine.
3. You have been pitching almost every game, does your arm ever get tired, and what do you do to take care of it if it does?
I’ve been dealing with arm issues for the past couple years now and it started to get worse last year when our other pitcher got injured and I had to pitch more. I don’t think it’s ever fully recovered from that so I deal with pain a lot. It’s hard to go out and pitch sometimes knowing it’s going to hurt, but I’ve tried to combat it early this year by going to physical therapy every week.
4. What are your personal and team goals for this season?
Personally, I would like to improve my stats from last year, which were not as good as I would’ve liked. But most importantly, I just want to have fun this last season. I think I’ve put too much pressure on myself the past couple years to win, but I didn’t have fun. Our goal is to make it to the SCIAC tournament this year and just go from there one game at a time.
5. What has been your biggest accomplishment on the softball field since you came to Chapman?
One that I remember is playing (University of) La Verne either my freshman or sophomore year and holding them to no runs for 11 innings. We were tied 0-0 until the top of the 11th when we finally scored, and then I held them in the last inning. It was one of the hardest games I’ve had to pitch and one of my biggest accomplishments because even though I was exhausted I was able to hold them the whole game.
6. You’re about to graduate in May. What are your plans after college?
Honestly, I don’t have any plans for after graduation, which is scary. I’m staying in Orange though and hoping to find something in sports marketing around here.