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Hurler on record pace for strikeouts
In theory, it is easy. All a pitcher needs to do is throw the ball three times and have the batter swing and miss or take a called strike on the third pitch.
However, for those that enter the pitcher’s circle, it is a difficult task to get a batter to strike out.
Most people outside of Southwest school district are not familiar with the name Maggie Robbins. Only a sophomore, the blonde-headed left-handed pitcher is quiet, shy and answers questions often with the appropriate “sir” or “ma’am” response.
Robbins instead lets her play on the field, mainly in the Lady Trojans’ pitching circle, do all of her talking.
“Her work ethic is what sets her apart from most girls in this area,” said Tony Eagleburger, Southwest coach. “She puts in the extra effort outside of our practices and it shows on the mound.”
Robbins as a freshman struck out 294 batters and helped the Lady Trojans to a 22-4 record, Robbins was 21-4 as the team’s starting pitcher. She finished just outside the top-10 all-time single-season strikeout mark. Dana Halstead, of La Platta, sits in 10th place with 313.
“In softball, the person in the circle has about 90 percent control over if you win or lose a game,” Eagleburger said. “Maggie has a bulldog mentality. She won’t back down and wants to strike everybody out.”
Eagleburger pointed to the Southwest win over Diamond earlier this year, where Robbins sent 20 of the 21 batters she faced back to the dugout empty-handed.
“I’ve never seen anything like it as a coach,” Eagleburger said. “She just goes to work and gets outs.”
Through her first 27 innings pitched this season, Robbins has struck out 59 batters.
“I always try to tell myself to play my game,” Robbins said. “I know that I don’t have to do it all myself and that my backup is going to be there.”
Robbins said she has four pitches that she feels comfortable with in the circle: fastball, changeup, drop ball and curve. She also has a screwball that she has been tinkering with this season.
“My fastball or rise ball is my strikeout pitch,” said Robbins. “My rise ball wasn’t on against Purdy, but I still feel comfortable
with it being my go-to pitch.”
For the sophomore, the game offers her a chance to be with her second family.
“I love the community aspect of the game and that we play for each other,” Robbins said. “There is not a time that I don’t have to tell myself to relax, but my teammates are there to help me when I need them to.”
Robbins is on pace for more than 1,100 career strikeouts. Walnut Grove alumna Hannah Harman holds the record with 1,109.
Robbins would need 962 to crack the state’s top-10 list.