Heather Schwartzburg, freshman pitcher for the Quinnipiac Softball team, has been dubbed the NEC Pitcher of the Week honors twice this season, and has also been featured as the female Athlete of the Week twice in The Chronicle.
She currently is sporting a 12-11 record, an NEC-leading 1.46 ERA and 154 strikeouts in only 154 1-3 innings pitched.
Why Quinnipiac? Were there other teams recruiting you?
There were a few. I know Washington and Wisconsin were both looking at me, but I came here because I liked the surrounding area so much better. The school is much smaller and the class sizes are smaller. The other schools were so much bigger, and I just liked this school so much better. When I first came on here, everyone was so nice and considerate of me. I stayed with the team, and they welcomed me and made me feel like I was a part of the team.
When did you first get into softball?
I think I might have been 12 or 13, so I started really late because most pitchers start when they are really young. Starting at such a late age was good for me because I am still having fun and still enjoying it.
Who taught you to pitch?
I had a pitching coach in the beginning, and I remember one day I asked my mom and dad if I could learn to pitch. On the first day of pitching lessons, eyes widte open, they were like, “Wow, she’s really good at this.”
Talk about your senior year of high school when you won the MVP of your league.
High school is so much different from college level. My high school in particular, no one really cared about the sport. They just did it for the P.E. credits and to be able to say that they did a varsity sport.
Talk about your pitching arsenal. What’s your best pitch?
I have a fastball, but I don’t throw that in the game. It’s just kind of like a warm up thing. I think it is a waste pitch because it is just straight. Then I have a changeup, which doesn’t work very much, but ever since I got here, I’ve had much more confidence in throwing it. I have a drop, a rise and a screw. My screwball I can hit at the knees, the waste, and at the chest. I also have a curve and a split-finger.
Why number 21?
That was my most recent travel ball team number, because I was on two. But the second one is the one that went to lots of recruiting tournaments, so I had that number on that team. If it wasn’t for me changing teams over to that one, then I probably wouldn’t have ever gotten a scholarship because my original travel ball team didn’t do anything; we didn’t go anywhere. For that team, I was No. 21. If it wasn’t for that coach and that team going to all of the recruitment tournaments, I probably wouldn’t have gotten here, so I just stuck with the number.
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
My goals are to keep doing what I’m doing and always to do better. Every time I look at the stats, I tell myself, “I want to get better.” For the past few weeks, I want to equal my number of innings pitched to the number of strikeouts. I always look at what I’ve accomplished and ways that I can to accomplish it better. If I get Athlete of the Week, that means I want to do it again or I want to get a higher position. I just see the things that I’ve done so far and I want to do better.
And for your Quinnipiac career? Getting on top of the NEC?
I think that’s everyone’s goal. It would be cool to accomplish it this year but I’m really hoping at least one of the years that we could do that. I want to see what the experience is like.