Believe it or not, the competitive drive and athletic demands of fastpitch softball wasn’t always the norm. Around the country, generations of girls grew up playing slow pitch softball in high school and summer leagues. Often, fastpitch softball wasn’t even on the radar for girls who enjoyed the game. That was the case in North Carolina until only 20 years ago, in 1994, when Buck and Judy O’Shields brought fastpitch softball to the state.

As the story goes, their daughter Julie helped take the 1988 Hoggard softball team to the state finals. However when she attempted to play in college, she was overlooked since she had been playing slow pitch softball her entire career – the only form of the sport available to her. Her parents, Buck and Judy took the reigns and introduced the sport to high school teams across the state. Now, North Carolina is one of the most active and fruitful areas for fastpitch in the country.

So next time you take the field, from Raleigh to Wilmington, say thank you to the O’Shields for their work and devotion to the sport of fastpitch softball.

You can read more about the O’Shields and their story here:

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