GRAHAM — Susan Welborn can blow a 65 mph fastball past hitters, then freeze them with a 50 mph changeup on the corner.
Either way, she’ll eventually try that on Big 12 Conference competition.
The North Richland Hills Birdville junior orally committed to Texas Tech as a sophomore, she said. On Friday, she led her Lady Hawk team to a 7-4 victory against Frenship at the Graham Softball Complex.
“She brings it hard enough that at (the college) level she’ll be able to pitch. If she can get her changeup down, she’ll be deadly,” Frenship coach Robby Dickenson.
Welborn throws harder than any pitcher the Tigers have faced this year, Dickenson added.
Birdville coach John Love literally pointed to Welborn’s arm as the main reason the Lady Hawks beat the Tigers on Friday.
Everything she does makes her a Big 12 player, Love said.
“She’s not just a pitcher. She’s a great fielder, she fields her position just as good as anybody in the infield,” Love said. “She hits the ball. She’s our best hitter — she’s the package.“
Welborn, a 5-foot-11 righthander, is 22-4 on the year with a 1.35 earned run average. She has 235 strikeouts, including eight against the Tigers on Friday.
Welborn said she was recruited by Northwestern Louisiana, and was interested in Baylor, attending a couple of the Bears’ camps.
Ultimately, though, Tech coach Shanon Hays grabbed the pitcher last year when the Red Raiders offered her a scholarship, Welborn said.
“Everything just felt right there. I liked the coaches,” she said. “I like the campus. Their girls we’re really cool. I really like them.”
She said she was primarily recruited as a pitcher, although she hit for a .434 average this year, including two home runs and 35 RBIs.
On Friday, she worked both sides of the plate on a tight strike zone. She mainly threw her fastball, but her changeup and curveball kept the Frenship hitters off balance.
She struggled early with command, walking four in the first two innings, but walked one in the final five frames when adjusting to the strict zone.
Tech’s pitching has dramatically improved this year with only one upperclassman, so Welborn will join a deep pitching rotation when she graduates next year.
Welborn said she plays in the outfield, as well as on the corners when not in the circle.
She doesn’t believe she is quite ready for the Big 12, though.
“I need to improve on everything. Pitching, fielding, hitting, poise. Everything,” she said.