It was a baseball fan’s dream: a 30-minute conversation with a player who will likely go down in the history books as the greatest hitter in LMU softball history — Sam Fischer.
In the upcoming issue of LMU Magazine, due out in May, you’ll find a story about Fischer, who just weeks into the 2012 season had established herself as the all-time LMU home run leader and the all-time LMU RBI leader. Fischer also hits for average. Throughout the season, she’s been in the top 5 hitters in the nation for batting average, and is No. 2 at the moment. And she’s well on track to finish as LMU’s all-time leader in career batting average.
And while we’re talking about amazing things seen at Smith Field, let the record show that Fischer has been pushed to the max by teammate Kelly Sarginson, a senior, who last year set an LMU record and a Pacific Coast Softball Conference record for homers in a single season, with 18. Fischer and Sarginson bat third and fourth in the line-up, and I’ll confess that when our No. 3 and 4 hitters are due up, I often imagine what it must’ve been like to see Mickey Mantle in the batter’s box and Roger Maris on deck. Fischer herself says they make one another better.
Any player who leads a team in home runs, RBIs or batting average for a season is worth taking note of. To lead in all three categories completes the legendary Triple Crown, last accomplished in major league baseball in 1967 by Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox. Others who’ve done it? Frank Robinson, Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig, to name a few of the few.
Fischer, as I write this in mid-April, leads the PCSC in all three Triple Crown categories for the current season. But more amazing is that she will almost certainly end the season as the all-time LMU career leader in all three categories. Fischer will be LMU’s Career Triple Crown winner. It’s difficult to imagine that any future LMU softball player will match this accomplishment.
I became a baseball fan by watching the Baltimore Orioles lose a World Series in 1979, then win one in 1983. How I wish I could’ve sat down to talk with Cal Ripken about positioning in the field, with Eddie Murray about whether power hitters really have holes in their swing. Later, after moving west, I did get to ask Eddie Williams — a wonderful, and unheralded, Dodger pinch hitter whose career was slowed by injuries — about the mentality of the occasional batter. When I interviewed Fischer for our magazine story, I decided to ask her about hitting, and hitting only: Who would you most like to get a hit off? When you're at the plate, do you analyze all the possibilities like Kevin Costner in “Bull Durham”? When you have a chance to sit down with a great hitter, there's no reason to discuss anything else.
For LMU sports fans, especially those who love the game played on the diamond, the Lions softball team, with shortstop Sam Fischer, is a team one should consider changing one’s schedule to see. Although the season will end this month, the team plays two doubleheaders at home this coming weekend, on April 14 and 15 (the final games will take place later in April at the University of San Diego and Saint Mary’s College). First game starts at 10 a.m. each day. If LMU takes the PCSC Coastal Division title, then the team will play at home May 11 and 12 for the conference title. Follow all team news and check the schedule here.
(Photo of Sam Fischer ’12 by Jon Rou)