Indiana's Emily Goodin Hopes Improved Arsenal Leads To NCAAs
Entering the 2020 season, Emily Goodin was primed for her best year of college softball yet. Indiana's senior pitcher was coming off a 2019 campaign that included a career high in strikeouts with 129 in 34 appearances and an ERA of 2.41.
For the brief time she had to showcase her skills on the diamond in 2020, however, Goodin was even better than anticipated. She struck out 111 batters in only 18 appearances, with a career low 1.76 ERA.
So, what changed for the Hoosiers' ace? If you ask her, it was the addition of one key pitch to her arsenal.
"I implemented a drop ball more," said Goodin in a phone interview with Softball America. "In my years past, I was more curveball, screwball, offspeed."
Goodin gives a lot of the credit for those improvements to associate coach Chanda Bell.
"Me and Coach Bell, we worked on my drop ball on both sides of the plate," Goodin added. "The way that Coach Bell calls my pitches, she does a great job of keeping the batters guessing and setting up certain pitches."
Indiana head coach Shonda Stanton sees the growth that has occurred in Goodin in her four seasons of college softball and how that has prepared her for one final season in the circle for the Hoosiers in 2021.
"Experience is a great teacher," Stanton told Softball America. "Goodin’s done an exceptional job of wanting the ball and keeping it down in the zone and mixing speeds, and then she has continued to develop and grow as a pitcher. We got to see that result last season."
The Hoosiers ended up finishing the shortened 2020 season with a record of 12-9, with its ending happening a lot sooner than expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Initially, I just put my head down and we were all bawling our eyes out because it was devastating," Goodin said. "I personally didn’t expect it, especially with the way that our season had been going."
It was especially devastating in some ways because of how close the Hoosiers have come to reaching the NCAA Tournament in recent years. Indiana finished the 2019 season with a record of 36-21, narrowly missing the big dance and being one of the first four teams out.
To change Indiana's fate this season, Goodin knows she needs to continue improving like she has throughout her college softball career to date.
"It’s a matter of pushing through and doing everything that I can to make sure I’m in my best shape possible to pitch the games that I need to pitch," Goodin said. "It’s all going to be a matter of making sure that we’re physically and mentally resilient coming into this year."