Four years ago, softball head coach Kathy Van Wyk told Samantha Beasley that if she worked hard enough, she could be the best pitcher San Diego State had ever seen.
The senior pitching phenom took the words to heart.
Since that day in 2007, she has evolved from a wide-eyed freshman to one of the most decorated and accomplished female athletes to compete for SDSU.
“Sam was a player that came into San Diego State very under the radar, very unheralded,” assistant head coach Stacey Nuveman said. “Throughout her time as an Aztec, she has matured immensely and become an All-American-level pitcher. She is an all-around great athlete and has really developed her game.”
Beasley has played softball since she was 4, but she wasn’t always sure if she would pursue the sport on the collegiate level. As a multi-sport athlete at Steele Canyon High School, Beasley was also an accomplished basketball player, golfer and track runner.
In the end though, softball proved to be the best path for her to travel.
But the path wasn’t always a smooth one. The excitement of her freshman year wore off and her sophomore season turned out to be a tough one as Aztec pitching legend Christina Ross overshadowed Beasley.
“I had a tough sophomore year, but I took the summer and the fall of my junior year to figure out what I needed to do to get where I wanted to be,” Beasley said. “I worked harder than before, cut back my pitches and have been focusing on three in particular. I am more focused on the mound. I’m more serious when I face every batter and every pitch.”
Last season, Beasly harnessed all the hard work and extra effort from the previous summer and fall and made a statement: She was back and ready to take care of business.
Beasley dominated in the circle. She earned NFCA Third-Team All-American honors, NFCA First-Team All-West Region honors, Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year, a spot on the All-MWC Team and MWC Pitcher of the Week honors nine times. She also had otherworldly statistics: A 29-11 record, a miniscule 1.20 earned run average and 354 strikeouts in 240 innings.
But as great as all the accolades are, Beasley is not concerned with any of them.
“I don’t want to think about the records and accomplishments; I don’t want it to interfere with my game play,” she said. “I’m not here to go out and play for records. I am here to lead my team and get us farther than we have ever gone before.”
Now, in her senior season, Beasley has “attained a new level of focus that she has never had before,” according to Van Wyk. Beasley has eliminated her screwball and curveball, and has focused on throwing her three main pitches: a drop, rise and changeup.
This is Beasley’s last season in Aztec red and black, which leaves everyone with the question of what lies on her horizon.
“I have already received calls from the National Pro Fast Pitch (Softball League) and it looks like Sam could be entered in the draft in March,” Van Wyk said. “This would make her the first player in (SDSU softball) history to play pro ball and I would absolutely love to see her continue on to the next level.”
With her focus, drive and desire to be the best, Beasley is sure to be touted as the best pitcher in SDSU’s history. The support of her teammates, coaches, family and six sisters will also prove to be helpful along the way. Although Beasley is insistent upon taking each day and each game one step at a time, she is still very excited with the prospects of her future.
“In high school, I can remember reading a poster inside one of my classrooms that said ‘A professional in anything was once a beginner,’” Beasley said. “This quote has stuck in my head as a reminder since then that every great person was once in my shoes. If I work hard enough, I can go whereever I want to.”