Allie Sims didn’t envision herself as being one of the top pitchers on her college team. The Sumner High School graduate was buried on the depth chart as she went into fall practice as a true freshman at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore.
Several months ago, the Boxers had five pitchers on their roster, and Sims said two of them left the team during the winter.
“When the season started, I was forced into a really big role for us,” she said. “It was a really cool position to be in. The first few games were nerve-wracking, but after a while, you get used to it and just keep going forward and getting better.”
Sims (7-3) has tossed five complete games and has helped the Boxers build a respectable 11-8 record. They won 11 of their first 13 games but, as of last week, had lost six in a row. Four came against NCAA Division III powerhouse Linfield.
“The season started off smooth sailing for us,” Sims said. “Now we face an uphill battle. We lost four games against Linfield, and those were tough losses. They are the toughest team in our conference.
“I think we can win out the rest of the season, honestly,” she added. “It’s hard to come back from those kinds of losses, but we’re a resilient team.”
Sims credits her teammates for helping to give her the confidence that she could succeed at as a freshman.
“Everyone took me under their wings, especially the pitchers,” she said. “Coming into the season, I don’t think I was completely ready, but they helped me out so much with my confidence and mental toughness. My teammates have my back, and I have their back.”
Sims said she doesn’t throw with high velocity, but she’s efficient at painting the corners of the strike zone.
“I’m probably one of the slowest-throwing pitchers around, but I’m good at finding those edges and finding those small spots in the strike zone,” she said. “I work from the inside to the outside of the zone.
“Coming into college, everyone said the strike zone was going to be a lot bigger, but I think it’s actually a lot smaller.”
Sims enjoys the Boxers’ approach on the field.
“Everyone on this team loves the game,” she said. “Everyone is so passionate and wants to win. We have each other’s backs.”