By Doug Gorman
When Jonesboro senior softball player Heather Lowry gets ready to deliver a pitch to an opposing batter, there's a good chance she is going to blow it by them like they are standing still.
Lowry has been causing problems for opponents ever since she stepped on the mound during her freshman season three years ago. Now as she enters her final year of high school softball, she has a chance to close out her career with the Lady Cardinals in a blaze of glory.
Jonesboro enters the week with a 6-2 record, and Lowry has pitched a shut out in everyone of the Lady Cardinals' six victories.
"She is just a pleasure to have on the team," said head coach Jeanine Conkle. "She loves the game, and works all year to get better at it."
Lowry's numbers are indeed impressive. In eight games, she has struckout 119 batters, and compiled a 0.69 earned run average.
"Heather's reputation has gotten around, and I think hitters are now intimated to go up there and try to bat against her," Conkle said.
Some of Lowry's best pitching has come in the last three games as she and her teammates have outscored Stone Mountain, Washington and North Clayton 50-0 in games called after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
Lowry struckout all 15 batters she faced in the Stone Mountain and North Clayton contests, and 14 batters in the Washington game.
Official records haven't been kept, but Conkle believes Lowry holds the career strikeout record for Clayton County schools with more than 700.
Lowry, however, doesn't get too caught up in her own records.
"It's cool to have all those strikeouts, but I really don't keep track of them," she said.
When Lowry arrived at Jonesboro, she followed in the footsteps of former Jonesboro pitchers Amy Burnsworth and Brin Davis, both had their jerseys retired and went on to pitch at the college level.
Lowry, however, has helped lead the Jonesboro softball team to its most successful era in school history as the Lady Cardinals have played in the state softball tournament three straight years.
"It's gone really fast," Lowry said. "It's been a lot of fun being part of this."
For Lowry, the success can be attributed to more than a decade of hard work.
It all began for Lowry as a t-ball player, and now has turned into a 10-month-a-year endeavor.
"I usually take December and January off, then get right back at it," she said.
When not playing for Jonesboro, Lowry plays on travel ball teams in the summer and gets private instructions from pitching instructor Stacey Harriston and hitting coach Lori Shepard.
Although Lowry has earned her reputation as a pitcher, she has also shown her ability to hit the ball too.
This season she leads Jonesboro with a .340 batting average and six RBIs.
Lowry attributes much of her success to a supportive family.
Lowry's father Scott has been her travel ball coach for years.
"He let's me know what I'm doing wrong, but he is also very supportive," she said.
Her mother Paula and her brother Chris, are also two of her biggest fans.
"It's great to have all of that family support," she said.
As Lowry gears up for one more run at a state title next month, she has some decisions to make regarding her future.
DePaul, St. John's, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech and the University of Albany are all recruiting Lowry. She will make official visits to all five of the Division I programs before the end of the year.
She will also pay unofficial visits to Chattanooga and Jacksonville State.
"It's nice to know I will have some options about where to go to school," she said."