Megan Good's Last-Minute Decision To Play Softball Paid Off
Megan Good almost didn't become one of the best softball pitchers in the world.
Good, who now plays softball professionally for the USSSA Pride of the National Pro Fastpitch, was a standout volleyball player in high school with aspirations to play collegiately. In fact, Good was so serious about playing volleyball in college that she competed on a club team that traveled across the country for recruiting tournaments. Since she viewed softball as her second sport for much of her life growing up, she only ever competed locally near her home in Mount Sidney, Va.
"I went to big volleyball tournaments, but didn’t really do that for softball," Good told Softball America in a phone interview. "I only played softball tournaments in Virginia and Maryland. I really wanted to play volleyball in college."
But that all changed when Mickey Dean—the former James Madison head softball coach who is now at the helm of Auburn's program—saw Good at a local softball camp when she was in high school. Dean immediately noticed the talent that Good possessed, which went largely undiscovered since she played for a local club team called the Augusta Flames that had minimal recruiting exposure. He ultimately convinced Good to attend JMU, which is just 20 minutes away from her childhood home.
"I always knew about JMU when I was little, and the fact that it was so close to home and I had so many friends and family come and watch my games was amazing," said Good, who made a last-minute commitment to JMU as a senior in high school. "It had a big influence on my decision."
Fast forward five years and Good left JMU as one of the best pitchers in NCAA softball history. A four-time All-American, Good now sits atop the JMU softball record book in 17 categories including career RBIs (188), lowest career ERA (1.03) and total strikeouts (900). In April, she was selected 10th overall in the 2019 NPF Draft by the Pride, which allowed her to join her former JMU teammate, Jailyn Ford, in the professional ranks.
"I never thought I would end up here, honestly," said Good, who is now one of the top arms on the NPF's first-place team. "Coach Dean said when I first came in that if I worked hard every single day that I could be an All-American. I didn’t even believe him saying that, so the fact that I’m here is just amazing."
Even more impressive, perhaps, was Good's ability to return to full form after undergoing knee surgery that cost her the entire 2018 season, which would have been her senior campaign if she had not been injured. The repetitive-use injury to her left knee and one-year recovery time had Good and others wondering if she'd ever be the same pitcher again.
"My surgery was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through in my life, not just physically, but mentally, too," stated Good, who bounced back from her injury and helped lead JMU to a Super Regional appearance in 2019. "It showed me how you have to stay positive through adversity, no matter what it is. It put things into perspective for me to not take anything for granted."
And that mindset has carried Good all the way to the NPF, where she is now lauded as one of the best pitchers in the league, despite being a rookie.
“Megan was the steal of the 2019 Draft," Pride general manager Don DeDonatis said. "Had she not sat out a year for injury, I feel she could have been the first player selected overall."
Despite all the success she's had in softball, Good knows her playing career is still young and she has much to learn.
"I’m trying to learn still, especially from the pitchers in this league who have had multiple years here," Good said. "Being a part of such a great team is exciting to me, and I want to do the best that I can for my teammates and help grow the game for future softball players down the road."