one of the top pitchers statistically in UC San Diego Softball history, junior
Camille Gaito has elevated her game to a higher level in the early stages of
the 2011 season. With a 7-0 record, a 0.30 ERA and 36 strikeouts compared to
just four walks, the San Rafael native has been one of the key components in
the Tritons' 11-2 start that has pushed them to No. 10 in the national
rankings. "Camille is truly a competitor, someone who wants the ball and
performs well in every situation," says Head Coach Patti Gerckens. "She's not
going to blow the ball by hitters but has always been able to make the ball do
amazing things. The area where she's really improved is understanding batters
and what they're trying to do-it's made her a smarter, even better pitcher."
Now fourth in both career wins (37) and strikeouts (245) at UCSD, Gaito spent
time recently talking about the team's fast start and the nuances of her sport.
you took the field for the team's first game of 2011, did you have any inkling
that you might be 11-2 now and ranked 10th nationally?
GAITO-I didn't know what to expect this
year with so many new faces in the starting lineup. With our team gaining 10
freshmen I knew that the chance for change was great and I am so excited that
we have such strong, confident and wonderful freshmen to add to the team this
year. I know I had high hopes for
this season and I am thrilled that we are starting it off right
your opinion, what's allowed UCSD to get off to its best start since 2002?
GAITO-Once again I think that the
addition of many talented and eager freshmen has given our team a big boost.
The freshmen are paired nicely with a large senior class who are doing a great
job of making the freshmen feel comfortable, equal, and a close family.
Q-After seven starts, you're sporting a 7-0
record and an incredible 0.30 ERA. Do you feel like a better pitcher than last
GAITO-I feel like my pitching has
gotten smarter. I know a lot of the batters in the league and I know what
pitches were getting hit and perhaps how to call my pitches better. Coach (Nichole)
Willis is a new assistant coach this year and was a great catcher at Fresno
State. I attribute a lot of my success to her ability to call my pitches and
work with me.
Q-Talk about the 1-2 combination of yourself and
Tess Granath. What are each of your strengths and do you make each other
GAITO-First of all we are great friends
which helps us support each other in games, practice, and staying calm. Secondly, we compliment each other very
well with my slower movement and her ability to keep batters off balance with
her speed and crippling knuckle ball that I really envy. We also like to try
and learn each other's pitches out of curiosity.
Q-What do you consider your "go to" pitch and
GAITO-It is very important to me to
throw pitches on multiple planes and speeds in every at bat. But I find that
the pitch I am most confident will get a pop up or a strike out is my rise
Q-You're throwing to relatively inexperienced
catchers this season. How does that differ from having a veteran like Nicole
Saari in your first two years?
GAITO-Honestly, I was worried about
that this season as Saari was an amazing catcher, smart pitch caller, and
amazing teammate who I miss. But I
was happily surprised by our freshmen.
They have learned quite a lot quickly and I feel completely confident
pitching to both Charly (Swanberg) and Caitlin (Brown).
Q-Your father was a baseball pitcher in
college. What kind of influence did
he have on your development and desire to pitch at the collegiate level?
GAITO-My Dad was and still is a HUGE
influence on my pitching. He supported me in every aspect from building a
batting cage in our backyard, to catching me, to driving over an hour and a
half on week nights for pitching lessons throughout high school. The most important lesson my Dad taught
me, while coaching me, was to be humble, confident, but never give up on
improving my skills. He is encouraging and knowledgeable while holding me to my
highest standard, which I appreciate.
Q-What was the biggest adjustment you had to
make going from high school to playing at the collegiate level?
GAITO-My high school league and
competition was nothing close to that of college. There were games that I
struck out 19 batters and still lost.
Luckily, my parents always helped me keep the goal of college softball
in perspective and hold myself to goals that were more long term than high
school. College was an amazing shift for me to be among people who took the
sport as seriously as I did.
Q-What has been the highlight of your career so
far at UCSD and why?
GAITO-That is a really tough question
so I am going to have to say that the highlight of my career is going to come
Q-At practice, what do pitchers spend the most
time working on?
pitchers we spend our practice hours participating in the same activities as
most of the team with more focus on our fielding and our mental game to be able
to deal with pressure situations.
Our bullpen sessions before practice give us time to focus on getting
conditioned and fine tuned for games
Q-Do you ever wish you had the opportunity to
swing the bat in a game?
GAITO-It is a little strange to only
participate in half of the game of softball and "yes," sometimes I miss it. I
played under many coaches who felt that pitchers should only pitch so by the
time I got to college I had sort of moved away from that role. Luckily I have
great designated hitters who can help me out instead.
Q-Your favorite player is Tim Lincecum
and team is the San Francisco Giants. How excited were you to see them win
their first Championship in San Francisco and what are your thoughts on them
trying to repeat this year?
GAITO- I was soooo excited. I know that the 2010 World
Series may have been boring to some people because it was dominated by the
pitchers but that was what I loved. Lincecum, Matt Cain, Brian Wilson, and even
Cliff Lee's dominance made me so excited for my own season. Back-to-back World Series wins are incredibly
rare but I think the Giants have as good of a chance as last year with the
addition of Miguel Tejada, Pablo (Sandoval) trimming down, a solid staff with
Wilson, Cain, Bumgarner and Lincecum, and the return of (Andres) Torres, Buster Posey, and Cody
Q-What do you think this year's Triton Softball
team is capable of accomplishing?
This year's Triton Softball team is capable of
beating any team in Division II. Last year we played the Division II championship
team, Hawaii Pacific, and lost by a narrow margin in a game where we let
ourselves get beat. I am confident that we have the ability to win the CCAA
title and go farther in postseason than we ever have.
Previous Q & A Articles
Tim Shibuya (Baseball) February 8, 2011
Carl Eberts (Men's Volleyball) January 31, 2011
Neda Nguyen (Women's Swimming & Diving) January 24, 2011
Amy Bianchini (Fencing) January 14, 2011
Lauren Freidenberg (Women's Basketball) January 3, 2011
Christian Hatch (Men's Basketball) December 24, 2010
Blake Langland (Men's Swimming & Diving) November 27, 2010
Sarah McTigue (Women's Soccer) November 8, 2010
Brandon Yee (Men's Soccer) October 11, 2010
Bryce Madsen (Men's Water Polo) September 23, 2010
Annette Ilg (Women's Soccer) September 9, 2010
Ricci Luyties (Women's Volleyball Head Coach) August 24, 2010
Kevin Messey (Head Athletics Trainer) July 7, 2010
Dan O'Brien (Baseball Head Coach) June 18, 2010
Merrill (Women's Track & Field) June 14, 2010
Vance Albitz (Baseball) May 11, 2010
Erik Elliott (Men's Tennis) May 3, 2010
Kelly Fogarty (Women's Track & Field) April 23, 2010
Liz LaPlante (Women's Tennis Head Coach) April 15, 2010
Kirby St. John (Baseball) March 24, 2010
Dan Perdew (Men's Swimming) February 28, 2010
Calvin Ross (Men's Volleyball) February 20, 2010
Nicole Saari (Softball) February 4, 2010
Brad Kreutzkamp (Women's Water Polo Head Coach) January 18, 2010
Tyler Acevedo (Men's Basketball) January 4, 2010
Dr. Cliff Kubiak (UCSD's Faculty Athletic Rep) December 18, 2009
Chelsea Carlisle (Women's Basketball) December 9, 2009
Carianne Cunningham (Women's Swimming) November 23, 2009
Elena Inouye (Cross Country) November 6, 2009
David Morton (Men's Water Polo) October 28, 2009
Juan Pablo Carillo (Men's Swimming) October 19, 2009
Sara Spaventa (Women's Soccer) October 10, 2009
Karen Reis (Women's Volleyball) October 2, 2009
Daniel Pavitt (Men's Soccer) September 23, 2009
Daniel Anderson (Cross Country) September 11, 2009
Peter Gresham (Men's Water Polo) September 2, 2009
Alexia Zatarain (Women's Soccer) August 24, 2009
Elaine Chen (Women's Volleyball) August 12, 2009
Jared Kukura (Men's Soccer) July 30, 2009
Dawn Lee (Former Women's Soccer Standout) July 8, 2009
Rob Mamula (Director of Athletic Performance) June 18, 2009
Garrett Imeson (Baseball) June 8, 2009
Leon Baham (Men's Track & Field) May 21, 2009
Kristyn Lesovsky (Softball) May 8, 2009
Kazumi Negishi (Men's Tennis) May 5, 2009
Laiah Blue (Women's Track & Field) April 16, 2009
Ryan Andre (Men's Crew) April 2, 2009
Josh Tanner (Baseball) March 24, 2009
Anju Shimura (Women's Swimming) March 7, 2009
Stephanie Bocian (Women's Water Polo) February 20, 2009
Lauren Chastain (Softball) February 5, 2009
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