In the Coyotes’ first game of the season, freshman pitcher Clara Edwards shut out Houston Baptist in her first game with USD.
“There was definitely a lot of nerves in the first game because it’s the first college game,” Edwards said. “Your family’s up in the stands finally, and there’s a whole bunch of people watching you.”
Edwards said that her parents have made a big impact on her life with her choice of sports. Her father played basketball while her mother played college softball at Bethany.
With her parents’ background with basketball and softball, Edwards also played both sports growing up. Starting with t-ball then moved onto playing competitively around age seven.
Edwards was named a finalist for the Kansas 4A Basketball Player of the Year in 2020 after she led her team to the Final Four. She also had a 33-1 record as a pitcher inside of the circle and contributed 310 strikeouts and an ERA of .73.
“I had to decide whether I wanted to play softball or basketball,” Edwards said. “It was really hard to make that decision just because I had offers to play both basketball and softball.”
Edwards eventually chose to play softball, but the decision where to commit was based heavily on her nursing degree.
“Coaches here allow us to play softball and do nursing,” Edwards said. “That’s really difficult at some of the bigger universities and it just kind of fell together.”
Two of the final schools that Edwards was choosing between were South Dakota and Wichita State. She ultimately chose USD to continue her softball career. In Edwards fifth game of her collegiate career, she took down Wichita State pitching seven innings and not allowing a single run.
“It had more meaning for me winning that game because they told me that I was not going to be able to be good enough to be a Division I pitcher,” Edwards said. “That kind of played a big role in the motivation for me and I was just in a different mindset. It was really awesome.”
The Coyotes’ next games will be in Memphis, Tennessee in the Memphis Tournament. In this tournament, they will have to face another ranked team in No. 11 Oklahoma State.
“It’s probably a lot more pressure just because we’ve (beat a ranked team before),” Edwards said. “At the same time we have to have that same type of mindset and drive and just the want to do it. I think a lot of the girls on the team have that desire.”