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8th grade softball standout commits to Oklahoma State University

(ROCKWALL, TX — February 28, 2018) At just 13 years old, Elizabeth Schaefer has already become a star in the pitcher’s circle.

She’s the all-time strikeout leader for her traveling softball team, the Texas Travelers Gold, with over 1,800 strikeouts and holds the single game strikeout record for the ASA National Championships with 18 strikeouts in nine innings. She was the Top Pitching Speed winner of the FASA World Series in 2016 when her fastball was clocked at 59 miles per hour. She was named to the USA/ASA All-American Team in 2017 and earned MVP honors at the 2017 USSSA TSU/TWU College Showcase Tournament.

And last month, the Williams Middle School eighth grader verbally committed to playing softball at Oklahoma State University.

“I met the coaches there and they’re all awesome, the campus is beautiful and I really liked that they’re big on academics. It’s like one big family there and I just loved it,” Schaefer said.

Schaefer said she first learned how to pitch when she was nine years old after watching videos about it on YouTube. Her pitching coach Rick Lee of Lee’s Pitching Academy has been working with Schaefer for the past four years and said he has never seen a pitcher with her kind of understanding of the position.

“She has a good mind for pitching and understands why she’s throwing the pitch she’s about to throw next,” Lee said.

Texas Travelers Gold Head Coach Kyle Bennett said the fastball, rise, drop, curveball and screwball are all in Schaefer’s arsenal. But then, he said, she’ll work in a change-up from seemingly out of nowhere that’s 15-20 miles per hour slower than anything she’s pitched previously.

“It’s crushing both mentally and physically to her opponents,” Bennett said.

Her go-to pitch is the drop ball, which she said just “drops off a cliff.” She also loves the rise and change-up.

“I just try to pitch it to the spot, because I trust my teammates and my defense so much that I know no matter what, they’re going to get the ball,” Schaefer said.

Last year Schaefer was chosen to play for the USA Softball All-American Team against the top 360 players across the country, going 4-0 with 27 strikeouts.

“I loved getting to play with the best of the best,” Schaefer said. “It pushed me to go even harder than I normally push myself.”

Schaefer brings that competitive spirit and willingness to want to be the best off the diamond as well. She has a 98.7 GPA in her Pre-AP Honors classes and represents Williams Middle School on the basketball, volleyball, track and soccer A-teams. She is also the captain for the Texas Assault 14U National Volleyball Team. Schaefer will attend Rockwall High School next year.

Her ultimate goal is to play for Team USA in the Olympics, following in the footsteps of softball superstar pitchers and Olympic medalists Jennie Finch and Cat Osterman.

When she’s not playing sports, Schaefer said she loves to sing and is in the Honors Choir at her school. She also likes going to church and spending time with her family.

Schaefer said the things she loves the most about softball are spending time with her teammates and the pressure of the game.

“I love getting in that situation where I can strike out that batter to win the game,” Schaefer said.

Bennet said Schaefer’s never-say-die attitude and remarkable work ethic make her a stand-out in the pitcher’s circle, with her quiet leadership and determination to win elevating the play of her fellow teammates.

“Elizabeth is a winner, and it’s contagious,” Bennett said.

By Austin Wells. Photo by John Hamilton.

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