TAMPA, Fla. – Kalen “Jojo” McGill is adjusting to the Division I level of softball at the University of South Florida.
The 20-year-old Gainesville native is finding new pitching challenges at the after posting strong numbers at the University of South Alabama and the College of Central Florida.
McGill finished last season at 33-4 with 25 complete games and a 0.83 ERA. Her record at USF this year is 3-3 with a 3.14 ERA.
“The competition is different,” said McGill, at a recent USF practice. “Coming from a Juco (junior college) to top-notch hitters (is different). At this level, everybody is good so it’s just your mentality and keeping your composure is the number one thing that you have to have.
“If somebody is going to hit your ball you can’t get discouraged about that. You got to go at the next batter.”
Despite the change in the level of competition, McGill believes in her decision and has high aspirations for her junior year on the mound.
“I wanted to show that I could be the best,” she said. “I want to win a championship and I want to go to a national championship. My coach said he wants another ring on his finger and I want a ring on mine.”
McGill’s championship aspirations display her competitive mentality, but she recognizes that there’s always room for improvement and she’s committed to working on her game.
Her preparation before each game includes a scrimmage with the team.
“What I like to do to prepare for games is to throw two-batters to make sure I get the ball far enough in the river,” she said. “I do a lot of splitting the plate which is working on the inside and outside, right now I’m stronger on the inside because of my speed and I throw a drop ball.”
Her coach believes in her potential and is confident in what she’ll contribute to USF’s team.
“She has opportunities to get better,” said Ken Eriksen, head coach of USF’s softball team during a team practice. “She just learned a (new) pitch that she can control now.
“Her last two outings have been pretty good in relationship to ball-strike ratios If she can keep going, then we have a good chance with her.”