Q&A With Senior Hurler Lauren Chastain


Related Links

Lauren Chastain wants the ball when the game is on the line.
Lauren Chastain wants the ball when the game is on the line.
Courtesy: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios
Senior right hander Lauren Chastain comes into her final season at UC San Diego as the leader of the Triton pitching staff. The Laguna Niguel native was a key component in UCSD’s run to a second straight NCAA Division II Playoff berth in 2008, posting an 11-5 record with a 2.72 ERA. If preparation is any indication, Chastain could be looking at an even bigger year in 2009. “Lauren is one of the most mentally tough athletes I’ve ever met,” says Triton Head Coach Patti Gerckens. “Her work ethic is unparalleled and she’s definitely a leader. She’s added a couple of new pitches and is poised to be the ace of our staff.” With the softball team’s ’09 debut just days away, Chastain talked about her UCSD career—past and future.

Q: What have been the most valuable things you’ve learned about competing as a collegiate pitcher in your three years at UC San Diego?
CHASTAIN: The most valuable thing that I’ve learned as a college pitcher is that I’ve got to fight to get what I want, and if I want something bad enough, I can make it happen.

Q: What aspect of your game has improved the most in that time?
CHASTAIN: I think that my mental game has improved the most over the past three years. Coach G always works on making us tough mentally so that when it comes time to play we know that we can do it because we are mentally prepared.

Q: What knowledge that you have now do you most wish you had as an incoming freshman?
CHASTAIN: I wish I would have known how fast four years of college goes by. It seems like just yesterday I was playing my first game in a Triton uniform and going to my first class, and now I’m in my final season as well as graduating this quarter.

Q: How many different pitches do you throw and how important is it to have a varied approach when pitching?
CHASTAIN: I throw a curve ball, a screw ball, a drop, a rise and a change up. It’s important to have three pitches working at game time because you need to be able to work different planes of the strike zone, change speeds and work different sides of the plate in order to be successful.

Q: How long have you been strictly “a pitcher?” Do you ever wish you had more opportunity to hit and play in the field?
CHASTAIN: I have never been strictly “a pitcher”. Although I don’t always hit in games, I do hit in practice and sometimes make pinch hit appearances in games.  Hitting is one of my favorite things to do and I try and take advantage of every opportunity in the box I get.

Q: What is the most gratifying aspect of pitching? What is the most difficult aspect?
CHASTAIN: The most gratifying aspect would be being in control of the ball with the game on the line and coming through for your team. I love being the one on the mound when it’s a tight game and getting out of a tough situation. The most difficult aspect is that sometimes you make a good pitch, but the batter hits it solid anyway and beats you and there is nothing you can do about it.

Q: Would you rather strike out a hitter looking or swinging? Why?
CHASTAIN: Definitely strike someone out swinging because it gives me the satisfaction of knowing that they couldn’t touch me and I beat them on a pitch they thought they could hit.

Q: What are your personal and team goals heading into the 2009 season?
CHASTAIN: My team goal for this season is for us to play solidly all season long and to make it to post-season play.  Personally, I would like to be consistent all season, doing whatever it takes to help my team win.

Q: How would you evaluate this year’s Tritons?
CHASTAIN: We have a solid group of returners and some very talented rookies that have great chemistry on the field and this is going to help us along the way.  We need to be consistent at the plate and just stay relaxed and we will be a very successful team.

Q: What has been the single most exciting moment of your collegiate career? Why?
CHASTAIN: For me personally, getting to start the first game in regionals last year was my most exciting moment because we worked so hard to get there and I was just so excited to be the one on the mound. It was a great experience and I hope to get that opportunity again this year.

Q: Which of your teammates has a talent you wish you had? What is it?
CHASTAIN: This is a tough one. We have so many girls with hidden talents. I would have to say our center fielder and my roommate Allison (May).  She can sing and play the guitar (she has an amazing voice), where I absolutely do not have one ounce of musical talent in my body.  

Q: Is there a player on this year’s team who you think might be a lot better in 2009 than people might think?
CHASTAIN: Everyone on our team has been working hard to be better, but if I had to pick I would say Jenn DeFazio. She looks really good at the plate and has been hitting the ball solidly on a regular basis. Also, she has been playing a lot of different positions and has made so many great diving plays. I can tell she is going to have a great season.

Q: Does athletic talent run in the family? If you weren’t playing softball, what other sport(s) would you want to play?
CHASTAIN: I would say I have a rather active family. Both of my parents participated in sports in high school and my little sister plays basketball. If I wasn’t playing softball I would probably play tennis or basketball.

Q: Unlike their baseball counterparts, softball pitchers are able to pitch more innings without wearing down. How long can you pitch before you start running down or losing your stuff?
CHASTAIN: The main difference between softball and baseball pitchers is that underhand pitching is a natural motion so for us its not our arm that gets tired, its our legs from driving out. After a certain point, it becomes mental rather than physical.

Q: Would members of the UCSD baseball team be able to hit off you on the softball field?
CHASTAIN: Definitely not! Its funny that you ask this because a few of them have challenged me to give them a few at bats and they think that they will take me deep. I may give them a shot after season, but I know that they won’t be able to hit me.

Q: What types of things do you like to do in your spare time?
CHASTAIN: I love going to the beach and hanging out with my friends. My roommate Allison and I also bake a lot.

Q: You’re an economics major. What do you like about that subject and what do you hope to do with it after graduating?
CHASTAIN: I like the math aspect of economics and I enjoy looking at different markets and seeing how they have changed over time. I’m not sure what I’d like to do once I graduate, but I’m interested in the sales and marketing division. My goal is to find a job that I’m interested in and that I enjoy doing.


Previous Q & A Articles

A.J. Maulhardt (Men's Basketball) January 28, 2009

Annette Ilg (Women's Basketball) January 22, 2009

Steven Hardy (Men's Swimming) January 13, 2009

Frank Fritsch (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2009
Kendall Bohn (Women's Swimming) December 22, 2008
Kelvin Kim (Men's Basketball) December 15, 2008  
Michelle Osier (Women's Basketball) December 5, 2008  
Sylvia Schmidt (Women's Volleyball) November 7, 2008 
Denny Harper (Men’s Water Polo Head Coach) October 17, 2008
Ron Larsen (USA Volleyball Assistant Coach) October 13, 2008 

Jessica McGovern (Women's Soccer) October 6, 2008

Bre Schofield (Cross Country) September 26, 2008

Tony Fernandez (Men's Soccer) September 18,2008

Kimberly Carpenter (Women's Volleyball) September 12, 2008

A.J. Kotanjian (Men’s Water Polo) September 2, 2008

Peter Akman (Men's Soccer) August 21, 2008

Natasha Belak-Berger (Women's Soccer) August 15, 2008

Jake LaVieux (Men's Cross Country) August 8, 2008

Dr. Penny Rue (Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs) July 30, 2008

Michelle Torres (Women's Volleyball) July 15, 2008

Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer Head Coach) July 1, 2008

Julie Ertel (Athletics) June 16, 2008

Clint Allard (Men's Basketball) June 9, 2008

Jen Myers (Women's Crew) May 27, 2008

Casey Ryan (Men's Track and Field and Men's Basketball) May 21, 2008

Keith Noe (Baseball) May 13, 2008

Liz LaPlante (Women's Tennis Head Coach) April 30, 2008

Sydney Gstettenbauer (Women's Water Polo) April 22, 2008

Sarah Hendy (Women's Track and Field) April 17, 2008

Eric Leserman (Men's Volleyball) April 9, 2008

Danielle Lukk (Softball) April 4, 2008

Chris Franco (Baseball) March 24, 2008

Dan Perdew (Swimming) March 18, 2008

Evan Hsiao (Swimming) March 9, 2008