Photo: USA Softball
Monica Abbott may be the most dominant softball pitcher of all time. After breaking Cat Osterman's NCAA career strikeout record with 2,276 punchouts, Abbott took her University of Tennessee squad to the finals of the NCAA Softball College World Series.
We caught up with her to get her thoughts on the U.S. National Team and just where she learned to throw that amazing riseball.
I know you're above such things but did you get a chance to remind Cat who the new NCAA career strikeout leader is?
(Laughs) No!!! I didn't have to remind her. She knew. Just kidding, Cat!
Your Tennessee team had a great run in the College World Series. Has it been hard to put the loss in the final game behind you?
Yeah in some ways it has. I wanted it to end up differently. I came to Tennessee to help develop their softball program and put them on the map. I feel confident I did that in my four years there. But still...it would've been nice.
Do you feel like your experience last year with the national team made you a better pitcher for your senior year?
Yeah definitely. We spent a lot of time together last summer at the world championships. I worked a lot with the pitching coach Chuck D'Arcy. I really got to understand what the top players do. How they think. You pick up little things here and there. And you talk a lot of softball.
Where did you learn to throw that overpowering riseball?
My pitching coach in high school, Kenny Gardner, taught me it. I've kind of tweaked it here and there. Chuck and I worked on it. Marty McDaniel, from Tennessee, and I have worked on it. Just kept practicing it and it became real natural to me.
With the addition of Jennie Ritter this year to an already stellar staff, do you feel like the U.S. National Team has the chance to pitch even better than last year?
I think definitely. We're very lucky to have five great pitchers. We're all different in our own way. All very talented and will be able to push each other to be better.