Hurler Herzberg powers Fountain-Fort Carson's softball team
COLORADO SPRINGS - Tori Herzberg paid a price to enhance her skills and Fountain-Fort Carson is reaping the rewards.
She worked tirelessly on cold winter nights in the gym with Trojans coach Ron Wilson to become an accomplished pitcher.
For Herzberg, it was a labor of love.
"I started playing softball when I was eight years old, second grade," Herzberg said. "I used to be a catcher and a utility player. Catching was fun but I like pitching better. I like how involved I am in the game. I like being in the center of the action."
Herzberg (9-5) has a three-inning perfect game against Wasson, a three-inning no-hitter against Sand Creek on Saturday and a seven-inning no-hitter with 12 strikeouts against a good Mesa Ridge team.
She also beat Rampart, one of the best teams in the Colorado Springs 5A Metro League, 7-1 on the road last Thursday.
"She's one of the fastest pitchers we've seen this year," said Rampart second baseman and cleanup hitter Sam Talmich, who will play collegiately next season.
"She threw really well," said Rampart coach Becki Pepper. "We got a few hits but couldn't string anything together against her. She was tough."
Wilson isn't surprised.
"She's worked three years in a row in the gym all winter," Wilson said. "She's extremely dedicated and determined. She's a special kid."
Wilson said his pitcher's dedication is rare.
"She was willing to spend two nights a week at the gym as an eighth-grader," he said. "You don't see that very often. And last year she worked three nights at the gym. "We tore her down and started over with proper technique and mechanics when she was an eighth-grader. Last year we spent more time on drive and command and hitting location, hitting location, hitting location."
Plus, Wilson emphasized changing speeds. Herzberg features a fastball, changeup and rise ball.
"My fastball serves as a sinker," she said. All that work, Wilson said, paid great dividends, especially in the last 12 months.
"She went from a decent varsity pitcher to a good varsity pitcher in a year," he said. "She's made tremendous improvement."
Herzberg, who has played four years of club softball, won't turn 17 until March 22 but plans to move up to the under-18 team for the AquaSox next summer.
She stands 5-foot-7 and throws a fastball approximately 60 miles per hour. She probably needs to gain a couple miles on her heater to attract more attention from college coaches but should get the chance to continue her career.
"I definitely throw harder than last year and it's because of all the time I've spent in the gym with Ron," Herzberg said.
For now, she's worried about the Trojans, who are on track to qualify for post-season. "That would be amazing to make the playoffs," Herzberg said. "Fountain is not usually a very good team but everybody's really stepped up this year."
The Trojans are 11-6 after winning five games last year and seven in each of the two previous seasons. "Ron has talked about, as a whole, this being the best team Fountain has ever had," Herzberg said. "It would be amazing to make the playoffs."
Herzberg said the Trojans deserve their success.
"All the girls have worked really hard and want to win," she said. "When girls love to sweat as much as you do and want to win as much as you, that makes it really fun."
article updated on 10/7/09 09:25