The Student News Site of McCallum High School

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The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

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The fastball track to college

 Junior, ace pitcher Nina Buford prioritizes softball, school

ballerThe Shield: When did you start playing softball and why?

Nina Buford: I started playing in second grade because my parents were both people who wanted me to be in a sport, so they put in every sport you could imagine. Then I guess softball just kind of stuck with me.

TS: So do you play softball outside of school too?

NB: Yes, I do. I play for a club team called Impact Gold.

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TS: What is the biggest difference between the two?

NB: I think that club softball is a lot more competitive because girls there are trying to play college ball, but some girls in high school are more just doing it for fun, which is fine, but for me I like to compete at more of a competitive level with girls who are going to help me achieve my goals of playing college ball.

TS: What has your college search been like?

NB: It’s been pretty smooth. It’s hard to get recruited, but I’ve been going to a lot of camps and getting recruited by some colleges.

TS: What’s the camaraderie like on your school softball team?

NB: I would say this it’s pretty good. I will say there are some issues on our team. I think that’s just because we don’t all communicate enough and cheer each other on. I think that it is a work in progress.

TS: How has the softball program changed over the years that you have been at McCallum?

NB: I think that now that we have a new coach, there is this atmosphere where we are always being positive and uplifting. It’s also a new experience for her too, so she’s still learning, but all the experiences we have had with Coach Matz are a lot better than the experiences that I had personally with Coach Fidelman.

TS: Can you describe the pressure involved with the position that you play?

NB: Well, I’m a pitcher and there is a lot of pressure associated with playing that position. For me, I like to live under pressure to carry my team to victory. It’s how I function better and play my game. It can get pretty intense sometimes when there are two outs and a 3-2 count in the bottom of the seventh inning, and you just need that one out; it comes down to what I say to myself in my mind. I try to have a mindset of ‘You can do this, no negative thoughts,’ then I just try to tune everyone else out and do it for me and the name on my jersey.

TS: How many hours a week do you spend playing softball?

NB: I have no idea. Usually on a good day I will wake up around 5:30 and go to the gym. I will go to school, and then I have softball during the day and after school. After that, I usually have some sort of batting lesson or pitching lesson, something with a coach or my mom. So, a lot of hours. And at the gym, I do exercises that will help me in softball.

TS: What is it like balancing school and softball?

NB: School and softball are my top priorities right now. It can be a challenge because I have to work really hard to get good grades in my classes. There are nights where I have had to stay up pretty late, but I get my parents to help me. It can be hard for me to manage both, but I just try to get stuff done during the day because my body works in a way that I cannot stay up past 10.

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The fastball track to college