Senior softball pitcher takes career overseas

SF Gators pitcher Megan Clark plays against the Holy Names at a home game on April 28, 2017. (Tate Drucker/Xpress)

Many DII athletes say goodbye to their sport after college graduation, but not senior softball pitcher Megan Clark. Clark is spending her final days as a Gator preparing to take her athletic career overseas this summer.

After recording her 36th win on April 9 against Sonoma State University, Clark surpassed Gator alumna Audrey Nauer (1990-1994) for fifth most career wins in SF State history. Recently, head coach Lisa McKinney was contacted by a recruiter looking for a pitcher for a Swedish travel team and Clark fit the role.

“They are named Söder which means ‘South’,” Clark said. “We will be traveling around Sweden playing and, if we do well, other countries as well.”

Sending Clark was an easy choice as she finished her final season at a 3.33 ERA and with 38 career wins with 81 strikeouts accompanied with 12 strikeouts.

“I leave May 10 and I will get back August 7,” Clark said. “I will be helping the coach there with practices and new drills since the U.S. plays more softball – they will be looking to me to share my knowledge.

Clark said she sees the opportunity as one that will allow her to continue playing the sport she loves while giving her a unique experience she hopes will help jumpstart her coaching career at a collegiate level.

“I am really excited to explore Europe and also continue my (softball) career,” Clark said.

Tate Drucker

SF Gators pitcher Megan Clark plays against the Holy Names at a home game on April 28, 2017. (Tate Drucker/Xpress)

Clark dedicates much of her time to pitching, dominating the strike zone with six different pitches. She learned to rely not only on her talents, but on the Gator defense to stand strong behind her during games.

“I’m always working on some type of aspect of pitching whether it is physically or mentally,” Clark said. “I’m a pitch-to-contact type of pitcher so it was great to have my defense behind me – personally I felt really confident in my pitches and as well as my team.”

Junior catcher Celeste Adriano had the opportunity to work with Clark closely this past season and said she is one of the most dedicated pitchers she has had the pleasure of working with.

“I’ve never met a more hard working pitcher than Megan, she deserves it,” Adriano said. “Her drive is phenomenal and to be able to catch for her this season was a blessing.”

Adriano is not surprised at the feats that Clark has overcome in her years as a Gator and says that part of her own personal success comes from the leadership Clark displayed on and off the field.

“Megan has always been there for me, she was that upperclassman that showed me around, she pushed me and makes me question and think things that would’ve never crossed my mind – she challenges me as a player and a person,” Adriano said.

McKinney has only coached Clark for half of her Gator softball career, but describes her as a “hard working kid” and noted that Clark is a type of pitcher she had never worked with before because her drive and dedication comes with the ability to remember what pitches she needs to throw and what number she is on.

“(Megan is) a good hard on herself, she understands when to praise herself and when she has to be a little more tough on herself– she is very honest,” McKinney said, adding that Clark’s accomplishments are well deserved. “She put in a lot of time for her team.”

The final doubleheader against Holy Names University on April 28 was “bittersweet”, but Clark said that games like that are the ones that put her on top.

“I would have never made history if it wasn’t for my team and coaches for constantly having my back and pushing me to be better,” Clark said. “I am looking forward to being in a different country – that’s a whole new experience for me. I am so excited that I get to continue my career and develop some coaching skills.”

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