An interview with Lowbob’s Louisville Slugger shortstop Terri Ellingsworth!
Interview conducted on 1/2/2016
Who are you playing with in 2016?
Lowbob’s Louisville Slugger
What positions do you play and what is your best position?
Who is the best softball player you have ever seen play?
I have a privilege that many people do not have. I have had the opportunity to play with my mother, Shannon Ellingsworth, for the past 7 years. She has been an inspriation to me my entire life, especially when it comes to sports. She always plays hard, inspires me to play hard, and I love getting to share the field with her.
Why do you like the game of softball?
Honestly, it’s a family affair. Both of my parents have played softball, and several other members of the family, including uncles and cousins, are involved in the game. Softball has also allowed me to travel all over the country and meet people that I otherwise wouldn’t have made connections with.
Who is the best up and coming player in softball and why?
There are so many new and young players in this game every year! Each and every year the game gets a little more competitive because of the new players that join teams. It would be hard to narrow it down to one person.
What is your nickname in softball and how did you get it?
TT has been my nickname since I was very very little…My parents would call me TT, and it stood for Terri the Tiny Tornado. I was apparently very good at making messes, making it look like a tornado ran through any room I went through. Since I play with my mom and other ladies that have known me since that age, the nickname followed.
Where do you call home?
I was born and raised in Louisville, KY.
What's your favorite way to spend an off weekend?
I love the lake…I don’t get many off weekends, but most of them are spent with friends and family that I don’t play ball with. And if I’m lucky they involve a lake, a boat, and sunshine.
What do you do for a living?
I am a fifth grade teacher.
Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
In high school I played both volleyball and softball all four years at Louisville Male High School. I continued my softball career in college at Western Kentucky University, playing all four years there as well.
How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
Softball for me started at the tee-ball age. I’ve been playing ever since. I played all through high school and college. I mentioned before that my mom is on the team, and as soon as I was finished with college softball in ‘09 I began playing with Lowbob’s. We’ve moved up throughout the years and we started playing women’s major this past summer.
What was the most surprising difference between Conference play and non-Conference play when you made the jump?
The level of competition, for sure. In non-Conference play one good inning is enough to win most games. But in Conference play all of the teams are so good that you have to have a good inning almost every inning because you know the other team can come back at any point in the game.
Is there a player that you would compare your game to?
I try not to compare myself to other players. My goal is to be the best player I can be and to get better and better every year.
What would you say is your career highlight to this point? Maybe one play or game that sticks out to you in particular?
In 2013 we played in the ASA Women’s Open National Championship in Ridgeland, MS. We ended up winning against the Armed Forces team. That tournament was the best I have ever played! I received the MVP award and the Batting Champion Award for the tournament.
In your career was there a single person (player/manager/coach) who had the most significant impact on your approach to the game? Why?
There are so many people that have had an impact on me and my game, it would be hard to choose just one. My parents have always played a huge part, practicing with me and supporting me throughout my career. My coach at WKU, Rachel Lawson (now head coach at UK) also shaped the way I play and how I approach the game. My Lowbob’s coaches, Ted Carter, Gina Dennis, and Jose Conlan have played a huge part in my transition into slow pitch as well.
What advice can you give a young player trying to break into the upper level?
Hard work goes farther than talent. Always give your best and continue working on your game and you will get there.
What type of batting grip do you use and what ounce bat?
I use a standard grip and a 26 ounce balanced bat.
What do you do in the offseason to prepare for the next softball season?
There’s a group of girls from my team that live in the same city (or close enough!) that get together every Sunday and hit and take ground balls at an indoor facility. The coaches are also there, so it’s a great time to work on hitting and try to get better. It’s great team time, and gives us a chance to better our game.
What is your favorite sports team and your favorite sport other than softball?
I am a supporter of my city! I am a UL fan. As for my favorite non-softball sport, my favorite sport to play is volleyball. My favorite sport to watch is basketball.
Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
Before every game I have a routine that I go through with my mom that actually stems from something we had to do when I played college ball. It helps me get focused on the game and get my head in the right place. I feel lost if I don’t get to do it.
What would be your "at bat" music selection?
“Tears Don’t Fall” by Bullet for My Valentine
What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
Making teams play up to their class, in both men’s and women’s.
What is your favorite non-World tournament and why?
I really enjoy playing in the Pic-O-Dixie in Chattanooga, TN. There are a ton of teams and the atmosphere is great.
What is the best softball field/complex you have played at and why?
Freedom Park in Ridgeland, MS has the best fields I’ve played on since college.
Where is the best place to eat on the road after a game?
Another reason why I like the Pic…there’s this restaurant on the way called “The Smokehouse.” Best. Food. Ever.
What is the funniest thing you have ever seen on a softball field?
One of our players getting hit in the face with a hotdog…you can’t make this stuff up. 🙂
Tell us something about you that most would never know about you?
I love to cook!
What was your favorite sports related gift you have ever given or received?
This past Christmas I received some bat cases. I have a couple bats from different tournaments for receiving MVP and All Tournament Team. They have just been leaning up against a bookcase, but now they are in cases and they look so much nicer!