TAMPA, Fla. – There is a quote on the women’s softball team’s locker room door at the University of South Florida that sums up the Bulls attitude.
“Expect perfection, accept excellence.”
Outfielder Astin Donovan is coming pretty close to perfection in her 2017 campaign, as the Connecticut native compiled an outstanding .395 batting average over the club’s first 21 games.
The junior is quick to brush her personal accomplishments aside.
“Coach (Ken Eriksen) tells us that recognizable teams, always have unrecognizable players,” Donovan said. “At the end of the day you’re not going to remember what your stats are, what records you broke, you’ll remember the big championship wins and the things that got you there rather than the stats.”
Eriksen, who serves as both the head coach of the Bulls and the US women’s softball team, fully appreciates Donovan’s skillset.
“She’s got a great mental approach to this game and (she plays) hard every single day,” said the coach, sitting in the shade of the dugout before practice. “And with her innate talent, you play hard and you let your talent do its job and continue to learn and get better.”
Donovan’s ultimate goal is to represent the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The speedy slap hitter already played for her country in 2015 as a member of the Junior U.S. softball team.
“It was pretty amazing and until you experience it you can’t really put it in to words,” Donovan said before practice on Thursday. “But just getting to wear the red, white, and blue and hearing the national anthem, it’s been a dream for a while.”
During the 2017 trials for Team USA the last spot came down to Donovan or Marshall University’s Morgan Zerkle. Although both women had great tryouts, Zerkle ultimately made the cut.
“But the bottom line is (Donovan is) the next person to go in case injuries occur,” Eriksen said. “She’s so competitive. Does she belong on that squad? Yes she does.”
Whether she is playing for the Bulls or the USA, Donovan’s team-first approach makes her a valuable commodity.
“She’s one of those kids who doesn’t give a crap who gets the credit as long as the team wins she’s happy,” Eriksen said. “So you’ve got to love that.”