Rathbun taking her show on the road
Former Rochester Mayo standout will play softball on U.S. team in Australia
By Paul Christian
Brittany Rathbun doesn’t want to even think about the day when she no longer will be playing fastpitch, but that day is right around the corner.
"I’ve been playing since I was 8 years old," she said. "It’s been such a huge part of my life."
Rathbun bounced through the Rochester Youth Fastpitch Softball Association, enjoyed a stellar career at Rochester Mayo (2004 graduate) and is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
"My college career has gone by so fast," she said. "I’m not sure I’m ready for it to end."
Good news, there.
Rathbun just found out she’ll be playing this summer in Australia, picked by USA Athletes International to represent the Division III United States team in the Australian Softball Series.
So her career has been extended, at least for a couple of months.
"There is a 23-and-under league in the Twin Cities I may hook up with after I finish school," Rathbun said, "but basically, the tournament in Australia will be it for me. But what a way to go out; I’ve always wanted to go there."
River Falls, which recently went through a seven-game losing streak, is 22-10 and 5-7 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Rathbun is 9-5 with an ERA of 3.18. She is also hitting .220.
"Games are tougher now that we’re in conference play," she said. "This is a tough conference."
Rathbun’s group leaves July 18 for Sydney and returns July 30. There are 12 players on the United States team, including a pair from River Falls. They’ll be playing against other international teams, but the tour is not all fastpitch. Rathbun said she will have time to tour Australia and have fun off the softball field.
In the fall, Rathbun will go back to school and plans to graduate in December of 2009 with an elementary education degree and a coaching and communicative disorder minor.
"I switched majors late, so I’m on the 51⁄2-year plan," she said. "When I’m done with school I really want to teach and coach."
Rathbun has been used as both a starter and reliever during her career, with 32 wins and a 2.50 career ERA.
In 2006, she led Division III in saves (nine) but to show her versatility, also pitched a no-hitter in a starting role.
But it hasn’t been all roses.
Following her sophomore year, Rathbun underwent major surgery on her right shoulder and then three weeks later broke her collarbone, ulna and left wrist when she fell off an ATV.
"I never once thought about quitting," she said. "That wasn’t an option."
Pretty soon, though, she will have no choice.
"I want to continue the softball experience for as long as I can," she said. "Enjoy the ride while I can."