Two and a half years ago, senior pitcher Paige von Sprecken packed her bags and left California for Austin, after deciding that it was time to explore what a different part of the country had to offer. Fresh off a dominant freshman campaign at the University of San Diego, von Sprecken sought to become the ace of a premiere college softball program.
Time has passed quickly since her move to the Lone Star state. Only a month away from the end of her senior season, von Sprecken is now forced to reflect on the reality all college seniors must face at one time or another: Her college career will soon end, and the transition to the next stage of life will soon be forced to begin.
With that uncertain future looming, the senior starter pitcher now focuses on taking advantage of her last opportunity to make a mark on the 40 Acres.
“I think I’m just really confident right now and just trying to trust in my stuff,” von Sprecken said. “It’s my last season, and I’m just pretending like every game is my last and being grateful for these opportunities.”
In her last season, the Yorba Linda, California, native has failed to disappoint. In her 20 appearances in the pitcher’s circle, von Sprecken has gone 10–7 with a 1.54 ERA, which places her fourth among Big 12 pitchers.
Von Sprecken’s excellence in the pitcher’s circle this season has impressed even head coach Connie Clark, who has often called upon the senior pitcher to perform in the team’s biggest season games.
“I think Paige can be really dominating at times,” Clark said. “I think she does a nice job and establishes pitcher’s counts and gets them to swing at her pitch, and that’s always important for a pitcher.”
According to von Sprecken, knowing that her head coach believes in her abilities allows her to take the mound with an extra sense of confidence when her team needs her the most.
“It’s nice that I know she has the belief in me, and it makes me believe in myself even more,” von Sprecken said. “It’s awesome just going out there and getting the wins for my team.”
With matchups looming against No. 24 Oklahoma State, No. 21 Baylor and No. 2 Oklahoma, there’s little doubt that Clark and the Longhorns will call upon von Sprecken to help lift Texas through the most difficult part of the conference schedule.
It’s a challenge that the senior is ready to embrace.
“She just competes and wants the ball,” Clark said. “She is just figuring out how to pitch a great inning, and she’s a competitor for us and plans to go out on a high note as a senior.”
The Longhorns (26–16, 9–1 Big 12) return to action this weekend at Red & Charline McCombs Field in a three-game homestand against No. 24 Oklahoma State (32-12, 10-2 Big 12). The series will begin on Friday with a double-header that starts at 4:30 p.m.