Prep Softball: Mercer County's Tabby Shewmaker having a stress-free season
Mercer County senior pitcher Tabby Shewmaker is 6-1 with 76 strikeouts for the Titans (6-3) and hopes she can help lead her team to a 12th Region Championship. (Hal Morris / April 9, 2012)
The Mercer County pitcher will attend Bellarmine University in Louisville next year — she signed with the Division II school last fall — and said having that decision taken care of was a big load lifted off of her.
“It was a big relief to get that off my back because I didn’t have to worry about that, along with (basketball and softball) practices and everything else,” she said.
Shewmaker chose Bellarmine because of the school's physical therapy program.
“The campus is great, it’s really pretty and I practiced with the team and I felt very at home there,” said Shewmaker, who also considered Georgetown College. “I felt I could help them, but I could also improve a lot there, too.”
So far, Shewmaker said she has felt more at ease this season for the Titans, and it has showed since she is 6-1 with 76 strikeouts for the Titans (6-3).
She went 12-7 last year and hit .432 with five home runs and 48 RBIs to earn All-Area honors. Mercer had the week of spring break off, and she went on her break with an 18 strikeout, three-hit performance in a win over Marion County March 30.
“I’m definitely more relaxed. But mainly, I’m pushing myself as hard as I can,” she said.
That’s because the Titans return the bulk of their squad off a 22-win team that lost in the first round of the 12th Regional Tournament. The Titans should be a serious threat to win the regional title this year.
Shewmaker said getting to state is a top priority for the veteran Titans, who have seven seniors and five juniors.
“I still have many goals for myself. Working on my pitching and making sure everything’s good there,” she said. “And my bat. I love to hit, and I’ve hit good these past few seasons. I’m just trying to keep it up and improve in all areas.”
Shewmaker has been pitching for Mercer since she was a seventh grader, and that is what she is mostly known for. But she also takes pride in her hitting and does not feel it is an underrated part of her game.
“I think, especially around here, teams know I can hit, so they don’t give me anything good,”¿she said. “If I’m not hitting, I’m not pleased.
“It’s been crazy (during my career). It’s been a long road, but the team’s improved so much. When I first got here, we were winning like two games (per year). And if you think about it, we’ve come a long way, and I’m really happy with my team.”
Shewmaker will get her chance to swing the bat in college.
“That’s another good thing about Bellarmine, I’ll be able to pitch and play the field, and I’ll be able to hit,” Shewmaker, who plays third for the Titans when she is not pitching, said.