TAMPA, Fla. – When University of South Florida Bulls starting pitcher Cheyenne Eggens played softball as a youngster, a future in the sport did not seem a realistic possibility.
“If I was placed in the outfield, I would literally just sit,” Eggens said. “I would pick the flowers and I’d pick the grass. I wasn’t paying attention to the game.”
But what if the ball came in her direction?
“My slow butt had to get into gear and go get it.”
But when Eggens was about 12, her team’s desperation forced her into a position change.
“We only had one pitcher,” Eggens said. “So I just started pitching and pitching because we needed another person.”
It’s a good thing she did. She was good. Really good. She threw the ball so fast that she broke her father’s toes when he was catching her.
At Matthews High School in Vienna, Ohio, Eggens dominated. She pitched three perfect games as a junior. She graduated the following year with a career earned-run average of 0.38.
In her freshmen year at USF she was 7-0 with a 2.32 ERA.
Last year, as a sophomore, she had a 1.87 ERA, and made the American Athletic All-Conference First team.
Despite these accolades, Eggens has another dream in mind – suiting up for the USA women’s national softball team.
“It would mean everything to me,” Eggens said. “It’s every little girl’s dream to get out there and play for USA. It would basically mean to me that everything I’ve worked for has been recognized.”
Until then, Eggens will have to be satisfied with donning the green and gold jerseys of the USF Bulls.
After getting off to a slow start earlier this year, she is back to her dominating self. She has won her last two starts, combining for 10 scoreless innings.
But what about her father? Does he still catch for her after she broke his toes?
Yes, but with precaution.
“He wears a face mask, shin guards, and steel toed boots,” she said.