SBCC softball player earns athlete of the week award

LAUREN CURTIS, Channels Staff

What exactly does it take to be named Athlete of the Week by the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table?

Try going 2-2 at the plate while pitching a five-inning perfect game. City College freshman Madison McNamee did exactly that and more, striking out 10 of the 15 batters she faced to lead the Vaqueros to a 13-0 win over Oxnard.

Including the triumph over Oxnard, McNamee has proved her worth on the mound and at the plate. With only a 2.20 ERA and 21 RBIs on the season, McNamee is clearly deserving of this award.

“I was honored when I found out that I was the player of the week,” said McNamee. “It is not an easy award to get so it felt really good to be recognized.”

Not to mention, she did all of this with a serious back injury. Earlier this season, McNamee was diagnosed with a condition called spondyloslisthesis. This condition causes one bone in her back to slide forward over the bone below it, which leads to the nerve roots being squeezed.

“We know she’s been struggling with some unfortunate back injuries,” said teammate Alexa Sorensen. “But it makes us proud to know that she pushes through it to get us a win.”

The condition can cause extreme spinal pain yet she has pitched a majority of City College games this season. McNamee said that she has really had to limit herself this season due to the condition, but anyone watching her pitch would have no idea.

The 19 year old from Lompoc, California has been playing softball since the young age of 4 and said that while she enjoyed playing other positions, she knew very early on that she belonged on the pitching mound.

As the daughter of a baseball player, McNamee credits her father for pushing her to stick with softball over other sports she played such as volleyball and basketball.

“I owe all of my softball success to my dad because he is the one that introduced me to the game I love,” McNamee said. “He has been there every step of the way, from t-ball all the way until now in college.”

When McNamee was in high school she realized that she could play softball at the collegiate level. She dedicated all of her time and energy into reaching that goal. She led her high school team to a league title 3 years in a row, made it to the state semi-final game her senior year and committed to City College to fulfill her dream of playing college softball.

So far McNamee has thrown 82 strikeouts this season, and out of the 12 games she has pitched, four have been shutouts. With the season that McNamee is having so far, she understands that she helps set the tone of her team.

“As a pitcher it is very important to hide your emotions on the field and to not get rattled.” she said. “I never let pressure get to me and affect my performance.”

She also says that being a female in the world of athletics has been difficult on her at times. Ultimately, McNamee knows that she plays for herself, and is not going to let anything get in between her and the game she loves.

“Sometimes as a female athlete I am not taken as seriously and my sport is not taken as seriously but I don’t let that affect me, “ she said. “At the end of the day softball is a game and it is supposed to be fun. I won’t always remember the wins and the losses but I will always remember the good times.”

Although McNamee plans to pursue a career in elementary education, she hopes to always stay connected with softball in one way or another.

“I love everything about the game of softball,” she said, “I love the intensity and excitement of the game as well as the mental aspect, I definitely hope that softball stays a part of my life after college.”