Former Calvin Softball Player Throws Out First Pitch At Pirates-Cardinals Game at PNC Park
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
During her four years on the Calvin softball team, Loren Scarbrough faced many pressure-packed moments as a fulltime infield starter. None of those moments, she said, could compare to what she faced on August 8 when she was chosen to throw out the first pitch in front of a sell-out crowd of 38,593 fans prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.
Adorned in a Pirates jersey, Scarbrough responded to the moment in fine fashion, zipping a pitch over the inside corner. The fiery fastball drew a standing ovation from the crowd - listed as the seventh-largest in PNC Park history.
“The crowd gave me a big cheer and right after that, the cameraman shooting video on the field came up to me and said: ‘Nice Pitch!’” laughed Scarbrough who grew up a Pirates fan while living in Pittsburgh through her middle school years. “I’m not sure the staff of the Pirates or the crowd was expecting me to throw it that hard or across the plate.”
Scarbrough’s trip to the PNC Park mound traces back to last May at Calvin’s Commencement when she was presented a baseball by her father Todd that had a special inscription. “It said ‘first pitch’ and at first I had no idea what it was about,” said Scarbrough. “Then my father told me I would be throwing out the first pitch for a Pirates’ game and my jaw just dropped.”
An executive with Cargill Inc., Scarbrough’s father arranged for her to throw out the first pitch through a sponsorship of the Pirates-Cardinals game that night by his company. Based in the midwest, Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services that frequently sponsors Pittsburgh Pirates’ games as well as games of several other professional sports teams.
“It was a graduation gift that I never expected,” said (Loren) Scarbrough. “It turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
As part of the evening festivities, Scarbrough’s family, including her two younger brothers, were treated to seats directly behind the Pirates’ dugout. They were also allowed to witness pre-game batting practice from the field and were allowed to spend time in the Pirates’ dugout.”
“One of the things that immediately stood out was how well-manicured the field is,” said Scarbrough. “The players and coaches were also very cordial to us although we did not interfere with their pre-game warmups.”
Shortly before the game, Scarbrough was escorted to a waiting area adjacent to the field where her name was then announced over the public address system. “I was told to wave to the crowd while walking out to the mound,” said Scarbrough. “When I looked up, it was amazing to see that many people looking down at me.”
As for the game itself, the Cardinals secured a 5-3 victory on the strength of a two-run double by all-star first baseman Albert Pujols. A starter herself at first base as a senior, Scarbrough was undaunted by the final outcome. “Pittsburgh is the City of Champions,” said Scarbrough. “They picked up another Super Bowl (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Stanley Cup (Pittsburgh Penguins) this year. It’s a great sports town.”
A four-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll and an eight-time member of the Calvin Dean’s List, Scarbrough graduated from Calvin with a degree in secondary education and mathematics. She recently began her first day as a math teacher at Wichita Southeast High School in Wichita, Kansas.
Looking back on her Major League baseball experience, Scarbrough is full of gratitude to her father. “I realize that I was given a very special opportunity that I am very thankful for,” said Scarbrough. “It is certainly an exerience I will never forget.”