CORDOVA — Jacksonville State pitcher Faith Sims from Cordova has had a wild whirlwind of a year playing for the Gamecocks’ softball team.Her journey to Division I sports began at the young age of …
CORDOVA — Jacksonville State pitcher Faith Sims from Cordova has had a wild whirlwind of a year playing for the Gamecocks’ softball team.
Her journey to Division I sports began at the young age of five years old when she started playing softball. At the age of six is when she started to play in her current position as a pitcher.
When Sims was at Maddox Middle School she was getting coached by then Walker softball coach Randy Stracner. When Stracner left Walker and became the coach at Cordova Sims said, “There were nine of us that left at one time and all transferred to Cordova.”
Throughout the four years playing at Cordova she became a standout in the circle, making the State Tournament during her senior year.
“My team helped me so much. It is more than a one-person team,” Sims said.
After Sims signed with Jacksonville State she participated in a tradition at Cordova.
“People who sign a Division I scholarship get to bring their jerseys back and put them on the wall,” she said.
This further etched herself into Cordova history.
As Sims reminisced about her freshman year at Jacksonville State she commented, “It’s such a friendly campus, all your athletes sit together and get behind you. It’s one big family.” Companionship made it an easy transition to her new home.
Sims, 21, enjoyed her most successful college season in 2018. As the No. 1 pitcher for Jacksonville State, she went 23-11 in the circle with a 2.47 ERA. In 229 1/3 innings, she allowed just 172 hits while striking out 164 and walking 145. Opponents hit just .203 against the right handed pitcher. Sims, who will be a senior next season, has a career mark of 25-16.
This season didn’t come without its share of setbacks. On March 19, a EF-3 tornado ripped through Jacksonville and damaged the campus. Sims and five others lost everything as the tornado destroyed their apartment complex.
Sims was not on campus when the tornado came through.
“We weren’t allowed into our apartment ever again. They brought all of our stuff out, which was ruined,” Sims added.
Two days after the tornado the team picked up and went to play in Kentucky. They ended up losing that game because as Sims put it — “Nobody’s mind was in that game at all.”
Four days after the loss in Kentucky, they started a streak, winning three out of four games.
Weeks later, at another game, another incident happened. Someone stole some of their bags from the bus they travel in.
“We just lost everything in our apartment and now we don’t even have our softball stuff,” Sims said. The team was able to borrow equipment for the game.
A third incident happed later in back to back games as two Jacksonville left fielders got injured. The starting left fielder broke her arm. The second string left fielder tore her ACL. As they were headed to face Samford, the teams bus ended up breaking down. Thanks to community buses from campus they got to the game.
Again, Jacksonville State lost because —”Nobody’s head was in that game ether. We were having a horrible year. Nobody expected us to win after everything that we went through. It was really a Cinderella story,” she said.
Even though they didn’t win the regular-season conference title, the Gamecocks won the post season tournament to be able to go to regionals. In regionals they beat two big opponents in Kennesaw State and Auburn but later lost to the eventual national champion Florida State. Jacksonville State finished the season 35-25.
Going into her senior year she wants to graduate Jacksonville State with a degree in elementary education, but as of right now she is currently giving pitching/fundamental lessons in the Walker County area. Those interested may call Faith Sims at (205) 295-8347.
After going through all she has this year Sims is still looking forward to the bright future. She now knows that she can weather any storm that might come her way in life.