Former Springwood Wildcat is dominating on the college mound
Published 11:53 am Saturday, February 10, 2024
Freshman seasons in college are usually for adjusting to life as a college student and learning the nuances of college athletics. Instead, former Springwood Wildcat Alyssa Burrows is completely dominating the college game.
After spending four years as an elite pitcher for Springwood, Burrows is now tearing up the diamond for Point University. In her first two starts, Burrows has logged 13 innings, 14 strikeouts and allowed just one earned run.
Burrows made her debut on Feb. 3 as she got the start on the mound for Point’s season opener against LaGrange College. In that first start, Burrows pitched six innings, struck out nine batters and allowed just four hits.
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Although it was an immediate dominant start for Burrows, she was not all that confident heading into her debut on a college mound. Burrows was a ball of nerves heading into the game, but once she got out there, Burrows realized that this was the same game she had been playing since she was a kid.
“I was a little nervous, but I knew that I had a team behind me and I knew that they had my back,” Burrows said. “I was nervous at first and then after the first pitch, I felt completely fine. I’ve been playing softball my whole life.”
The encouragement Burrows received from each of her teammates helped her to quickly settle in. College fields can be loud, but Burrows could hear all of her teammates encouraging her throughout the game, even the players deep in the outfield.
Burrows has been the ace early on for the Skyhawks, but she came into the season with very little expectation of even seeing the mound.
“Everyone talks about how freshmen don’t play,” Burrows said. “I honestly didn’t expect to touch the field the first few games.
Burrows has quickly adjusted to a college mound, but there were several major differences Burrows had to adjust to early on.
The game was obviously faster and the ball was hit harder, but the main thing that Burrows was introduced to early on was the attention to detail that college softball coaches bring to each practice. Burrows has spent most of her life at softball practice, but she had never seen the level of preparation she saw at a Skyhawks’ practice.
“The coaches care a lot more,” Burrows said. “The coaches want to prepare you for the mindsets and the hardships that come with college ball. The ball is hit a lot faster, everything is a lot faster in college. They stay on you.”
Burrows is not far from home, with Point and Springwood being less than 10 minutes apart, but moving to a new school and starting over can be daunting for anyone. Luckily for Burrows, there was a familiar face to make her adjustment that much easier.
Sarah Warren Bowles is an assistant coach for Point and has also helped Burrows as her pitching coach. Burrows has taken lessons from Bowles since her junior year of high school, and those lessons also made her be around Point’s practices.
“Going in, I was comfortable already because I had been taking pitching lessons from her,” Burrows said. “I knew some things because I would be there when they were practicing.”
After Burrows’ dominant performance against LaGrange, Burows was announced as the Southern States Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week. The recognition meant the world to Burrows, but it also added pressure for her to perform each night.
“It was a lot,” Burrows said. “At the game yesterday, they mentioned it when they called me out onto the field, and my heart just started pounding because I knew people had high expectations. It was just nerve-racking.”
After being announced as the SSAC Pitcher of the Week before Point’s second game, it took a bit for Burrows to settle in and relax on the mound. Thoughts of doubt were swirling around for Burrows, but she found her composure thanks to the support from her teammates.
“First inning, I was like what if I don’t do good,” Burrows said. “What are people going to think of me? Then, I knew I had the team behind me. One of the players, her name is Wellsley Henderson, she is one of the ones that hypes me up the most on the field and talks to me constantly. She knows I’ve got it.”
Burrows has the full faith of each of her teammates and coaches, and now she has full faith in herself moving forward for the rest of the season.
Burrows’ start to the season has been one for the books, but she is not focused on all the individual accolades. Burrows and the rest of the Skyhawks are solely focused on winning a conference championship.