In the Circle: Womack works her way back to pitching

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY, News-Telegram Sports Editor

April 24, 2008 - Marci Womack hasn't tapped into her CIA connections to get the lowdown on her softball opponents. Her success on the diamond is totally from her own ability.

Womack, senior pitcher for the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats, has a career goal of working in government security, following somewhat in the footsteps of her aunt and uncle, who both work for the Central Intelligence Agency.

When Womack matriculates to West Texas A&M in the fall, it will be to get a degree in mathematics and to use that degree as a stepping stone into the world of government security. By the way, she will also be pitching for WTA&M while she's at it.

"Marci's a very structured person," said SSHS head coach David Carrillo. "She knows what she wants to do, and I think attributes to her leadership skills. She knows what she wants, and she's going to go get after it."

Womack, the daughter of Rusty and Cindy Womack, is No. 4 academically in her senior class, and she plans on keeping a high academic standing in college as well.

"It's been a challenge, but it's definitely worth it," she said. "I wanted this year to concentrate on softball and my school work, and I think that will carry through into college."

Womack carries the same attitude toward hitting the books into the pitching circle

"I like the mentality of it all," she said of softball. "I'm able to look at it analytically, with the routine and the mechanics of it all. It's my comfort zone through the years. It's what I like to do, and I live for it."

She was a First Team All-District selection last year and the team MVP. This season, she did not pitch the first six weeks of the season after undergoing wrist surgery in January. Since then, she's compiled a 1-1 pitching record with four saves and an 0.88 ERA.

She's done that despite not having her full repertoire of pitches so soon after the surgery. At the beginning, she could throw just two or three different pitches, so she had to concentrate on location, location, location.

"I've changed my focus a lot to hitting my spots and having to be so disciplined because I throw so few pitches," she said. "I think it will help a lot when I go to college next year.

"I'll be a starter or a reliever, or whatever the coach needs me to do."

Even when she was rehabbing her wrist and unable to pitch, Womack was still a vital part of the team, Carrillo said.

"She's one of those girls that I really think highly of. She's a great team leader," he said. "Even when she was hurt, she traveled with the team and hung in there. She ended up being like the team mom for awhile there. She was very encouraging to our young pitchers and very encouraging to our team - that's what it takes, I believe, to be a true team leader.

"Marci's the full package."

She's progressed enough that she will be the starting pitcher tonight when the Lady Cats open the bi-district round of the playoffs in Marshall against the Lady Mavs at 7 p.m.

"I think her injury ended up being a blessing for everybody, because we got to get Marci back and she's really focused on what she needs to do," Carrillo said. "And, we were able to get a lot of innings for our young pitchers. I don't think they would have gotten as many innings if Marci had been well all year. That's going to benefit us in the playoffs as well as next year."

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