Auburn's Shelby Lowe Has Taken Over In The Circle
Just three hours west of Auburn is where you’ll find Carrollton, Ala. The small town of just over 1,000 people is home to pitcher Shelby Lowe, who never thought she would be where she is today.
“I was eight years old, and I turned an unofficial triple play,” Lowe said. “After that, my pitching coach told me, 'You’ll go Division I one day…We’re small-town people, we don’t really go anywhere or anything like that. And now we’re here.”
Choosing Auburn seemed like a no-brainer choice for Lowe, and it was. But she didn’t have a dream school picked out. She just wanted to be somewhere near her hometown.
“I’m a homebody, so I wanted to be somewhere close to home,” Lowe said. “I went on five visits to different places. And this place just felt like home to me.”
After wanting to be a pitcher at five years old, it was only a matter of time before she showed her skills in the circle. Now, she’s an ace on Auburn’s pitching staff.
In her freshman campaign last season, she finished with a 1.48 ERA including 179 strikeouts in 165.2 innings. No one else on the team came close to the number of innings she logged, making her first year at Auburn even more impressive.
“I think it was a year of me trying to find my role,” Lowe said. “That was really big for me because I come in and years before I’ve had a big role on every team that I played. I really wanted to be that person that they can always count on.”
The Tigers certainly relied on Lowe during the season. She received All-SEC Freshman and All-SEC second-team honors for her work in 2021.
But more importantly, she found a way to be honorable in her community.
In January of 2020, a tornado ripped through Carrollton and killed three people. It was a devastating scene for those living there. But Lowe took it upon herself to help her community out. She decided to buy food from a local store and walked through neighborhoods delivering supplies to those in need.
“All these people were struggling,” she said. “That was really hard for me to see, and I just wanted to help in any way I could.”
Not only does she continue to give people hope in the town she grew up in, but her pitching coach, Gary Thomas, has also been a helpful mentor to her on and off the field.
“He's kind of like my granddad,” she said. “That's how our relationship is, but he kind of just took me under his wing. He gave me the hope that I could make it one day.”
The two still talk and work with each other to this day. It’s a relationship that Lowe will always cherish after he helped her learn to pitch at a young age.
More importantly, however, Lowe just wants to help her team win games. Auburn finished 7-17 in SEC play a season ago.
But Lowe believes the difference this year is that the team is as close as ever.
“I feel like last year, our team chemistry wasn't as good as it is this year,” she said. “And this year, it's a lot better. So, everybody gets along, and that makes it a lot easier.”
Auburn’s hopes of improving will ride on Lowe and how she can build off a stellar freshman campaign to help the Tigers make a deep run in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.