By Doug Gorman
When Heather Lowry joined the Jonesboro Lady Cardinals softball team as a freshman pitcher four years ago, it was the start of the best era in team history.
With Lowry on the mound, the Lady Cardinals earned four trips to the state tournament. Along the way, Lowry became an opposing hitters worst nightmare, often finishing games with double-digit strikeouts and tossing several no-hitters along the way.
Lowry finished her career with a 71-33 record, and an ERA of 0.67. She also struckout 1,315 batters, believed to be a county record.
“She's led the team all four years,” said Jonesboro head coach Jeanine Conkle. “Last night (Monday), we had a banquet, and she got all the awards. She was best offensive, and best defensive, and of course lowest era. Then I gave her my coaches award. It was like Heather Lowry night.”
Lowry's also became the fourth player in the program's history to have her jersey retired. Brin Davis and Amy Burnsworth, who pitched in the 1990s, and Rachel Nutter, Lowry's catcher for three season, were the first players to have their jersey's retired.
Tuesday morning in a ceremony at Jonesboro High School, Lowry was rewarded for all of her hard work when she signed a letter of intent to play softball at Virginia Tech in the ACC.
Virginia Tech won out over several other Division I schools, including, DePaul, St. Johns , Syracuse, Seton Hall and Jacksonville State.
“Whenever I went up there, it felt right. I got to know all of the girls, and the coach was really nice, it just felt right,” She said.
By signing with Virginia Tech, Lowry continues the Southern Crescent ACC softball pipeline.
Last week Union Grove's Terese Gober signed with Florida State, and Gober's teammate Lauren Peters signed with N.C. State.
Lowry's road to the college ranks started when she was nine. Since then, she has spent hours working with private pitching instructors, and playing travel ball in the summer.
The Extreme -Mavericks, Lowry's travel ball team had nine players sign Division I scholarships this fall.
“We have UNC, UTC, Gardner-Webb, me at Virginia Tech, and Kent State,” she said. “It's really cool for all of us to be going to colleges, and we are going to play each other still.”
Throughout her softball career, Lowry has had a strong support system from her parents Paula and Scott.
“We are just so proud of her,” said Paula. “As good as she is, she is one of four great kids. She has worked really hard.”
According to Scott Lowry, there were some nervous moments during the recruiting process.
“We just always tried to surround her with good players, good instructors, and going out and playing the best teams we could find, and I think that's what put her in the position to handle it. She's a smart kid, and she's always been able to rise to the occasion. She's been all over the country. I'm so proud of her, but I knew she would make the right decision. She scared me to death at first, because she didn't take the first couple of offers, and Dad was hoping she wasn't going to wait to long. The more we get to know the people at Georgia Tech, the more we realize that's the right decision.”