The sport of softball has grown tremendously over the years. Due to TV time and all of the positive publicity, the NCAA Women’s College World Series has become very popular with the public. In an effort to expand The National Professional Fastpitch League, the Twenty For 20 campaign is raising money to secure television time to broadcast select games throughout the summer season. No stranger to TV time, Taryne Mowatt, recognizes the importance of continued television exposure for the League.
The two-time ESPY winner for Best Female Athlete and Best College Athlete, Mowett comes to the NPF from The University of Arizona where she ended her career with 1,267 strikeouts, (second best for the Wildcats and within the top 20 for NCAA Division I rankings); her strikeout ratio of 10:1 also came in 7th all-time in the NCAA. She was named the 2007 WCWS Most Outstanding Player after leading Arizona to its second consecutive and eighth overall National Championship. Finally, she became the 8th pitcher to win 100 games at Arizona, in a victory over the Oklahoma Sooners at the NCAA Super Regionals on May 24, 2008.
Professionally, Mowatt was drafted in the first round and picked 6th overall by the now defunct Washington Glory. She made her professional debut with the Glory on June 11, 2008, against the Akron Racers. She pitched 2 innings in relief in a 7-2 win. She recorded her 1st career win on July 27 against the Philadelphia Force, pitching a complete game and allowing 3 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, and striking out 7 batters. The Washington Glory made it to the Cowles Cup Championship but lost to the Chicago Bandits on August 24, 2008. Mowatt spent two years with the Akron Racers before this year being picked up by the Chicago Bandits.
Mowatt expresses her passion for the game and dedication to keep it growing…
Q: You were part of a trade sending you from Akron to Chicago during this off-season. What are you most excited about being a part of the Bandit family?
Mowatt: I'm thrilled to be part of a Bandits organization that is constantly making improvements. With a brand new stadium being built in a prime location and the acquisition of some great new players, I can see this team being extremely successful. I know everybody on the team and in the league is getting anxious to get back out there in front of the NPF fans and keep spreading the word about professional softball.
Q: You are the only ESPY award winner for Best Female Athlete of the Year, what does that award mean to you and to the sport of fastpitch softball?
Mowatt: The ESPY awards were something that I will never forget. It was an experience of a lifetime and I look at it as accepting the award on behalf of our team that year. Everybody played a role in that season with the seniors (Caitlin, Kristie, and Chelsie) playing the biggest roles. I had an unbelievable time at Arizona and was fortunate enough to play with amazing teammates, some who have played in the NPF and still do. The fact that the award was fan voted just goes to show how many people were watching our sport on TV. In the past, the country has had little exposure to our sport and I think that year, the championship series was so intense and well played by both teams it made all the viewers fall in love with softball. Since then, softball has been on television more and the amount of viewers has increased every year and continues to do so. I'm just hoping we can continue to grow and get the same support in the NPF. It really is an amazing thing to watch and experience when it is done right and the game is played with respect.
Q: What have you been doing this off season to get you prepared for the 2011 NPF Season?
Mowatt: This off season I have spent a lot more time getting myself into pitching shape. Right after the season I continued to play in games with the Back to School Tour which helped me to stay in shape. I'm currently in Holland playing for a month before the NPF season to get some games in and see live batters so I think this will help me to go into the season ready to play.
Q: Tell us about what the competition is like in the NPF.
Mowatt: The competition is the best of the best. Every player in the League is so extremely talented and the games are played at such a high level. You see defensive plays and offensive power that you can only find watching an NPF game, nowhere else. If you are a young softball player wanting to see how the game is played the right way, you can find it at one of our games.
Q: If someone were to take your IPod, what would they see as the last three songs played?
Mowatt: I answered this question literally. I just checked my iPod and the last three songs that were played was 1.) Lady Antebellum - Perfect Day 2.) Taylor Swift - Fearless and 3.) Guns and Roses - Sweet Child of Mine .... These are all feel good songs and they brighten my day :)
Q: What is your favorite part about being an NPF Player?
Mowatt: My favorite part about being an NPF player is having all the players come together for an entire summer. We all spend our off seasons in separate locations keeping up through the social media. It's fun to see what everyone is doing in the offseason, but it's even more fun when everyone comes together and gets to play the sport they love. Every player has their own journey and their own experiences to share so you're always learning something new.
Q: The Bandits are going to be on ESPN this year taking on the USSSA Pride in a rematch of last year’s Championship Series Finals. What can fans expect to see when they see this game?
Mowatt: They can expect to see a high-intensity game with some of the best players in the world. I think it'll be a game filled with unbelievable defensive plays mixed with tons of speed. With the great pitching staffs on both teams I think it'll come down to that timely hit. This will be the type of game you won't want to miss, kind of a preview of the NPF championships in Louisiana!!
Q: How have you grown-up and developed since your rookie campaign with the Glory?
Mowatt: When you join the League right after college it's just a continuation of your college season so you're already in shape. The one thing that I have learned since my rookie year is that it's now up to me to get myself ready. I no longer have someone making up my everyday schedule and telling me exactly what I need to do when I need to do it. At first I kind of paused and said, "Well now what do I do?" It sounds ridiculous now looking back on it, but I definitely think I have grown since my rookie year and am now taking responsibility of myself and making my own decisions both on the field and off the field. The NPF has helped me grow as a person and opened my eyes to new things that I hadn't experienced before.
Q: Who is the toughest Player you have faced in the NPF?
Mowatt: Since I have been in the NPF, the one person that has given me the most problems is Rachel Folden. Ever since my rookie year when she hit a walk-off home run she has been a thorn in my side offensively. I'm just happy that we're on the same team now and I won't have to see her in the batter’s box.
Q: If you weren't involved in softball, what would you be doing?
Mowatt: I would love to be involved in the sports media industry. Even if I wasn't in softball, I couldn't imagine sports not being in my life. The competitive nature is something that is a part of me and I love being around it, talking about it, and relaying the information to other fans. Then if that didn't work out, my secret fantasy job would be to be singing on a stage rocking out with a guitar and ridiculous amounts of flashing lights! I would probably have to cure the stage fright before that ever occurred, oh yeah, and learn how to play my guitar... And a million other things...