Monday, June 22, 2015

Bailey Erwin Steps Into Justin's World

Back in the saddle today, and we return from 'hiatus' to bring you an interview with a recently-graduated player that fans of many different teams will recognize. Having suited up for two big-time softball programs during her career, Bailey Erwin is a name many will remember, whether it be for her dominating performances against their team or solid pitching for great teams as a part of the Missouri and Tulsa programs.

When you hear someone described as a "number two" pitcher, you may automatically think that said pitcher isn't good enough to be an ace. While the former may be the case for Bailey Erwin, the latter couldn't be further from the truth! One of the most humble individuals I have met, Bailey not only accepted her role, she did so at a high level and was simply a part of some of the best one-two punches in the circle at any given point.

Bailey on Tulsa Senior Day, 2015 (Photo: Miles Lacy)
Talented enough to be the ace for many staffs, Erwin began her career at Missouri behind all-American Chelsea Thomas. She followed two years as a Tiger with a transfer to Tulsa, where she backed up Aimee Creger. As you'll continue reading below, she also refused to kowtow to that label and instead put together a marvelous career in her own right.

Let's look at some numbers to back up my point... at Missouri, Erwin went 8-0 in her freshman season, posting a 1.12 ERA in the Tigers' final season in the Big 12. She transferred to Tulsa after her sophomore campaign, putting together a 1.45 ERA in 106 innings of work, with opponents hitting just .237 against her. In her senior season, the ERA ticked up just a bit as she saw more work than she had to that point and put together a greater than 3/1 SO/BB ratio.

When I interviewed Bailey, I managed to sneak in a question about her love of on-screen musicals in television and movies, but we also discussed several other topics including:

  • The process of choosing both Missouri and Tulsa as the places to begin and finish her career, respectively
  • Learning from her sister, a former collegiate player herself
  • Whether her 6'4" height gives her an advantage on the field
  • and more

Justin’s World: How did you get started playing softball?

Bailey Erwin: My older sister played, so some of my earliest memories are being at a ballpark when I was younger. I started playing t-ball when I was 4 years old. When I was 6, my dad started a team and I played for him until I was 15. So just about everything revolved around softball while I was growing up.

Justin’s World: Tell me about the process of choosing Missouri, where you initially went to school and began your career. What drew you to the school and program?
Bailey Erwin: At the time, Mizzou was still in the Big XII. I wanted to play in the Big XII because I knew it would give me a chance to play relatively close to home and my family would be able to make it to more games. Also it was a top 10 program and they had just gone to the World Series two years in a row at the time I committed. The major thing that drew me to Mizzou were the girls that would be the upperclassmen when I would be there, the juniors and seniors that were there my freshman year.

Justin’s World: When it came time for you to transfer, what attracted you to Tulsa and made you decide to join that program?
Bailey Erwin: Some things had happened and I was actually questioning what I wanted to do at the time I transferred. I talked to my family and prayed about it. If I continued playing I wanted to be closer to home and a door opened for me at Tulsa. The coaching staff was awesome and the girls embraced me with open arms, I’ll never be able to thank them enough for that.

Justin’s World: I have to ask you the height question, since you're taller than even I [at 6’4”]! Does your height give you an advantage on the mound and in the circle?
Bailey Erwin: Honestly, I’m not even sure myself. I’ve had people tell me that it’s intimidating but all of my friends will tell you that I’m the least intimidating person you’ll ever meet!

Justin’s World: Despite your talent, you ended up pitching behind two all-Americans at both Missouri and Tulsa in Chelsea Thomas and Aimee Creger. Talk to me about that and how you had to adjust to playing second fiddle even with ace-material talent.
Bailey Erwin: I never viewed it as playing second fiddle on either occasion, I just wanted to help my team in whatever way possible. When I committed to Mizzou, I knew what I was getting into. I was excited to get to learn from Chelsea and I tried to absorb every amount of information she told me. The two years that I was there, I learned so much from her. Kristin Nottelmann was a senior there my freshman year and I remember asking for her advice as well. When I came to Tulsa, I knew who Aimee was because we were both prominent pitchers in Oklahoma when we were in high school. I knew about all the success she had at Tulsa and I was excited to get to join her since we had been on opposing sides for so long.

Justin’s World: What would you call the proudest moment of your career?
Bailey Erwin: I don’t know about proudest moment. I do have a lot of favorite memories! Everything about my junior year at Tulsa was awesome, so winning the regular season and C-USA tournament is definitely up there. Playing in super regionals my freshman year is another. Those are just a couple; otherwise, I could probably go on for a while.

Justin’s World: Talk to me about your last game. What went through your mind when you realized that that was *it* and your career was done?
Bailey Erwin: It took a couple of minutes for it to hit. There was a moment after the game were us three seniors were standing behind the rest of the team a little bit and were watching UCF celebrate. It didn’t hit me until Coach J pulled the 3 of us together and started talking to us about our careers. That’s when it really hit me and the tears started rolling.

Justin’s World: You list your favorite film & TV shows as musical ones... are you gifted with musical talents yourself or just an in the car/shower singer, such as myself?
Bailey Erwin: I wish I had musical talent! I’m more of a turn-the-volume-all-the-way-up-and-sing-in-the-car. I’m an avid concert-goer. If any of my favorite artists are in the area, there’s a very high chance you will see me there.

Justin’s World: Your sister played collegiately, as well... Tell me how her experience helped you when you were looking at colleges and to know what to expect when you got to school.
Bailey Erwin: I asked her a bunch of questions about what it was like. She would tell me about things she wished she would have done differently or considered more before she acted on it. She was actually my pitching coach growing up also, so she would always be doing something to prepare me when it came to pitching.

Justin’s World: Let’s say you were stranded on a deserted island for an undetermined period of time, but you could take three things with you. Anything tangible qualifies, except boats and phones. What would you take?
Bailey Erwin: My Bible, an iPod, and my bed.

1 comment:

  1. Great responses Bailey! You always take the high road and I admire that so much about you!