Elizabeth Wyman | The Journal Gazette Fremont's Autumn Godwin threw her first perfect game April 11.
Elizabeth Wyman | The Journal Gazette Autumn Godwin pitches during Fremont's 2-0 win over Angola Tuesday.
Elizabeth Wyman | The Journal Gazette Pitcher Autumn Godwin approaches the mound during Fremont's 2-0 win over Angola Tuesday.
Elizabeth Wyman | The Journal Gazette Fremont softball huddles during a timeout in the team's 2-0 win over Angola Tuesday.
Friday, April 19, 2019 1:00 am
Experience gives Eagles' ace an edge
ELIZABETH WYMAN | The Journal Gazette
Autumn Godwin gets nervous. Most aces do.
Still, the Fremont pitcher calmly approached the mound in the bottom of the seventh with a narrow 2-0 lead over NECC rival Angola on Tuesday.
“I had a huge pit in my stomach going into this game,” she said. “I was so nervous just because Angola will always give us a run for our money. I just go in knowing that I am who I am but I'm not above anyone.”
The senior righty struck out the final Angola batter, getting the Eagles out of the inning and improving her record to 7-0 this season.
“I was like 'OK it's over – fist to the glove – we did it,'” Godwin said.
After a historic 26-6 2018 season, which saw the Eagles win their first sectional and regional championships en route to a semistate appearance, Fremont's back again this year – and maybe even more dangerous.
“We came into this season knowing we lost a lot of huge players,” Godwin said. “We knew we had holes and I just love that the girls learned, came together and we're doing what we're doing. Honestly, I doubt anybody expected it; I didn't expect it and it's amazing.”
There were questions coming into the season as to who would play where.
Coach Ron Smith said the only player that's at her same position is Godwin. Everyone else is finding her spot.
And it's working for the Eagles.
“For us we're learning together because everybody's in positions they've never played before,” Smith said. “For us to have the start that we're having we're pretty fortunate.”
Fremont's 8-1 start is its best in program history, largely in part to Godwin stepping up in the crucial moments like she did Tuesday. Smith chalks that up to experience.
Smith believes knowing she can go up against a team like Angola and do what she did Tuesdayis important for Godwin.
“That's just going to make her better for the next tough game,” he said. “You can't ever learn more than what you can in a game and that's really what it is for her.”
Godwin, a Western Michigan recruit, has taken her game to a new level byincorporating a nice rise and fast curveball, She has 82 strikeouts in 47 innings and here ERA sits at 1.19.
“There's nobody that works harder than her,” Smith said. “You say that, and everybody works hard, but she works hard all year round for her craft, and it's paying off.”
Godwin pitched her first perfect game on April 11, a 3-0 win over Eastside.
“Going into the last inning and the last out the announcer said I had a perfect game,” she said. “I was so shocked I didn't even realize it.”
The Eagles' heartbreaking 3-1 loss to eventual Class A state champions Pioneer in semistate still stings, but, for Godwin, it also brings welcomed motivation.
“I just go in thinking I'm double the pitcher I was last year,” Godwin said. “I can do this.”