26 June 2007
Hometown Newspaper Reports on JSU Softball Sophomore Pitcher's Season
Alan Dell - Correspondent
Reprinted here in its entirety.
Dowling finishes good year with loss
EAST MANATEE -- It was a painful lesson, but it taught Melissa Dowling
a powerful lesson. The former Lakewood Ranch High standout learned
pitching at the highest level means taking nothing for granted.
former H-T All-Area Player of The Year has known mostly success since
her days pitching for the Mustangs softball team. However, those
moments where she fell short of her expectations have left a lasting
imprint. She just hopes it will all pay off in the end.
transferred to Jacksonville State University in Alabama this past year
following one season with Manatee Community College.
to fulfill her dream of playing NCAA Division I softball, and the
Gamecocks were in need of pitcher who could throw with velocity.
Dowling was the perfect fit.
decided it was the best opportunity I had. I could've gotten hurt if I
stayed at MCC and then my career would've been over," she said. "The
coach at Jacksonville came to watch me pitch and said she wanted me."
a first-year player at the Division I level, Dowling was impressive.
She was second on the team in victories (13), earned-run-average
(2.70), innings pitched (132) and strikeouts (100) and threw four
shutouts in 20 starts.
In the Ohio Valley Conference
championship game, Dowling held a 3-0 lead and visions of helping her
team to the NCAA regional danced through her head. Unfortunately,
mistakes by Dowling and a usually solid defense ended the Gamecocks
season in a 4-3 loss.
The 20-year-old gave up only four hits to
Tennessee Tech; unfortunately, three were home runs, including one that
ended the game and the season for the Gamecocks. It took Dowling a
couple of weeks to get over the loss.
"I was upset with myself.
They made adjustments, and I didn't," Dowling said. "I learned every
pitch counts. They moved to the back of the box, and I should've gone
outside more and used my drop ball more. I wasn't hitting the corners
effectively as I wanted."
The biggest lesson?
"I learned you can't throw the ball by everyone and can't strike everyone out," Dowling said.
season finale was the only disappointment for the sophomore. She is
glad she transferred and enjoys the small-town atmosphere at
Jacksonville State, where she feels a closeness to the fans and a
"We are a Division I school with under 10,000
students. It's homey and everyone is nice to each other," Dowling said.
The Gamecocks (35-23) return their two top pitchers -- Dowling and
junior Karla Pittman -- and lose only one senior.
In her senior
season at Lakewood Ranch, Dowling was 20-1 with a 0.39 ERA and struck
out 214 batters in 143 innings. Her only loss came in the district
semis when Port Charlotte beat the Lady Mustangs 1-0.
"That game hurt because there were seven graduating seniors on the team," Dowling said.
"This last game isn't as bad because I've got two more years to take it and put it in my game pocket."
See story at The Herald-Tribune's website:
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