Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Caitlin Sill Steps Into Justin’s World

Over the last several seasons, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane have seen their star rise significantly in the sport of softball. One of the biggest pieces of the program’s success over the past several seasons was pitcher Caitlin Sill.

Photo: Tulsa Athletics
The ace of the Golden Hurricane staff right as they began to peak in the American Conference, and one of the biggest catalysts to the program's 2016 AAC tournament championship and league title, Sill ended her career with her name in the top ten among eight categories of the program's all-time greats in the circle.

Continuing a tradition that saw her follow former ace Aimee Creger and precede and mentor current ace Emily Watson, Sill's 2016 campaign was undoubtedly her finest, as she saw a career-high in appearances lead to a 1.84 ERA and nineteen victories from the circle, also a career high.

Join us as Caitlin shares on several aspects of her career, including switching conferences in the middle of her career; not receiving recognition for her solid senior campaign; and her plans for the future, including whether or not she’ll be back in a uniform this summer.

Justin’s World of Softball: How did you get your start playing softball?
Caitlin Sill: My two older sisters played softball, so I grew up at the fields. My middle sister, who is eight years older than me, was taking pitching lessons and I begged my mom to let me pitch too, so after my sisters’ lessons were over, they would let me throw a couple of pitches.

JWOS: What led you to Tulsa as your place to play and go to school?
Sill: My two older sisters played college softball, so my family knew the importance of a good coaching staff. Coach J and Crissy told me that they believe in God, family, school, and then softball, which really spoke volumes about the program. The softball program at TU is also a top softball program with Regional-contending teams every year. TU is also a top 50 private school, so the education also played a huge roll in my decision.

JWOS: Walk me through the conference change in the midst of your career – new annual opponents, a whole new group of opponents and hitters to learn, and a lot of hitters that had not seen you, except on film. What was that like, going through that big switch?
Sill: It was really a good change because I didn’t face the same hitters for four years, although in my opinion, it was a tougher conference.

JWOS: Toughest opponent you’ve faced?
Sill: My senior year, we played OU, who later on went to win the National Championship that year, and we ended up losing to them in a close game, but I feel like they were my toughest opponent [from the] one through nine hole.

JWOS: You went out on a high note, earning all-conference and all-region honors, as well as Conference Championship MVP. Did you ever feel like you got shorted a bit on the national recognition stage?
Sill: I couldn’t have asked for a better senior year. National recognition would have been nice, but it doesn’t affect me as a player and most importantly, it doesn’t affect me as a person. The memories and friendships I have made through softball will be the things I cherish most, not the awards.

JWOS: What do you hope future Tulsa softballers think about when they hear your name in ten or fifteen years? What do you hope is the legacy that you’ve left on the program?
Sill: I just hope they remember me! But it’s nice to be remembered as a good leader and a hard worker. I had to work really hard in my four years at TU to get to where I was my senior year.

JWOS: Tell me what you’ve been up to since your career ended, including involved with softball and otherwise.
Sill: After my career ended in May [of 2016], I went to Holland to pitch to the Dutch National team to help them prepare for the World Cup in Canada. I’ll graduate from TU in May [of this year] with my degree in Energy Management.

JWOS: Was playing ball past college, either domestically or overseas, something you considered or gave some thought to?
Sill: I never considered playing ball past college until I was contacted last year about Holland. I was also called about playing professionally in the US, but had already committed overseas. I have been contacted about playing overseas this coming summer and am giving it some thought. I am open to playing overseas or domestically this summer, but right now, I am just considering my options. Also, as a female athlete, playing professionally really has to be something you do out of love for the game because we are not able to make it our full-time job (or fear starvation). I think when the women are finally paid (even a fraction of) what the men are paid, then you will see more college graduates play professionally instead of entering the workforce.

JWOS: What are your plans for the future?
Sill: I plan to go to graduate school in the fall to get my MBA. I have been accepted at TU, so I might stay a Hurricane a little longer. After that, it’s really just a toss-up!!

JWOS: Say you were stranded on a deserted island for an undetermined period of time, but could take three things with you. Boats and phones are off-limits, but anything else tangible goes. What would you take?

Sill: A fire-starter, fishing pole, and an above-ground tent.

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