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UNF Spinnaker

Osprey pitcher dents catchers' gloves

UNF’s sophomore softball pitcher, Shaina Dent, received her first win of the season against Jacksonville State in game two of the Buzz Classic March 6 and has no plans of slowing down in the future, she said. 

 This communication major began her career in softball at 7 years old playing catcher for The Ladybugs, a Clermont, Fla. junior softball team. Donned in The Ladybug’s colors, red and black, a young Dent followed in her older sister’s footsteps not only by joining a softball team but also by continuing to play throughout college.

 When batting for the Ladybugs, Dent winced when oncoming balls approached causing her to reconsider the position of catcher, Dent said. 

 After more than six years of playing infield and short stop, Dent found her niche when she began pitching in middle school.

 She found her footing after joining South Lake High School’s softball team as pitcher, and it was there Dent began receiving attention for her pitching skills. The Orlando Sentinel named her player of the year three times in succession while attending high school. Finishing up her high school softball career with 950 strikeouts, she felt as though she was becoming a dominant player, she said.

 Dent said the opportunity to be a part of every play draws her to pitching, but batting and sliding into bases are some aspects of the game she misses.

 “We [pitchers] aren’t allowed to dive or slide because of the possibility of injury,” Dent said. 
Since beginning her career in softball, Dent hasn’t sustained any serious injuries which she attributes to good fortune. “Knock on wood,” Dent said.

 UNF’s softball team displays sportsmanship, unity and openness, which made the choice of which college to attend easy, Dent said.

 After touring other state university teams and scoping out their softball programs, Dent felt as though some of the teams didn’t get along and emitted an air of disjointedness, she said.

Finishing this past season with a 2.18 earned run average, Dent has remained a strong player for UNF. With 14 starts where she threw five or more strikeouts, Dent topped off the season with a personal record of 10 strikeouts in a game against FAMU.

 Dent’s fastest pitch clocks in at 63 miles per hour and is met nightly with an average pitch of 61-62 miles per hour. 

 Playing national Olympic teams from Japan and Puerto Rico in Canada during the summer of 2008 remains the highlight of Dent’s athletic career, she said.

 “We were so close to beating [Japan],” Dent said. “It wasn’t until the final out of the seventh inning we lost.”
Japan went on to take home the gold medal in women’s softball in the 2008 Summer Olympics.  

2008 Olympic silver medalist Caitlin Lowe stands as Dent’s choice softball player with a left slapper that she admires, Dent said. Lowe’s ability to hit on her left hand side from the front of the batter’s box is a feat Dent is as interested in learning as she is watching it executed.

Striking someone out is the most gratifying aspect of being a pitcher, said Dent.

Dent hopes to assist the team in winning conference, which she believes UNF has the ability to do.
“I want us to go as far as we possibly can,” she said. “If we win it all that would be awesome. If not, I just want us to make a name for UNF’s softball team.”
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