University of Maine senior softball pitcher Beth Spoehr went 5-9 in 13 starts for the last season, pitchingeight complete games in 75 innings and striking out 42 batters. Spoehr also threw a complete game against Long Island University — a three-hit shutout victory with seven strikeouts — and against California State University at Northridge, a shutout, two-hit win.
Spoehr started pitching when she was 8 years old, following in her older sister’s footsteps. When her sister stopped playing, Spoehr continued pitching softball, eventually reaching the Division I level.
“My sister — who is 18 months older than me — wanted to be a pitcher, so my dad would take us to throw and learn how to pitch together,” Spoehr said. “I really enjoyed it, and my dad really encouraged me to stay with it and practice.”
Once Spoehr entered high school, she had a feeling she could take her talents to the next level and achieve the goals she had set as a child.
“I realized I could play D-I softball when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school. Growing up I always wanted to play D-I, that was always my goal,” she said.
This year, the Black Bears have only played four games, going 1-3 in the University of South Carolina Upstate tournament. The team is still finding its identity and working hard to improve before March 1, when their next game is scheduled.
“I thought we played well, and we scored first in every game [in the tournament],” Spoehr said. “There were positives and negatives. We just need to work on communicating and playing as a team, and we need to expect to win, not hope to win.”
So far, Spoehr has seen action in three games, going 1-1 with a total 7 strikeouts and a 3.23 Eaned Run Average. She recorded five strikeouts in UMaine’s opening, a 9-1 win against North Carolina Central University.
“This offseason, I focused a lot of my attention on improving my change-up,” Spoehr said. “I’m just focusing on taking it one pitch at a time and remembering to look around and just enjoy the game.”
Spoehr has confidence in her team and strongly believes the Black Bears will have a solid season, despite the preseason rankings that projected the team to finish in the middle of the pack. Spoehr thinks she and the team still need to improve in order to finish out the season better than people expect.
“We need to get better at communicating and keeping our energy up throughout the entire game,” Spoehr said. “And I need to get better at shutting the team down the first inning and coming out with a strong start.”
Spoehr also believes that the team is just starting to find its potential, giving the fans a chance to see how the season will unfold.
“We’re working together really well; and if everyone does their job and works hard, we will have a successful season,” she said. “There is a lot of potential on this team. I think it will come out throughout the season.”
Being a senior, Spoehr also took some time to reflect on her career as a Black Bear and gave insight into her future.
“I’m glad I took the chance and came to UMaine. I think I got a lot of unique opportunities here and have met some great people,” she said. “I received a great opportunity to pitch on a team in Sweden for the entire summer and part of fall, and I will also be helping coach and working with the pitchers on the team.”
Spoehr relishes in the chance to pitch and compete at the D-I level.
“I love to pitch and have a passion for the game. I am the happiest when I am pitching. I think it is such a cool and unique position to play, especially in softball. It is so much fun,” she said. “I get to do the thing I love, day after day.”