This was during Georgina Corrick’s recruiting visit at South Florida. Coach Ken Eriksen, knowing a future star pitcher when he saw one, was eager to make a good impression. That’s when John Corrick pulled him aside for a word.
“You really want to get her?” John Corrick asked Eriksen about his daughter.
“I do. I think she’s that good,” Eriksen answered.
“Take her to the library,” Corrick said.
Soon, they were on the fourth floor of the USF library, and Georgina was gasping at all the books. Yep, that helped seal the deal.
Five years later, she has a degree in marine biology and is pursuing a master’s in global sustainability. She also has 104 career wins, 1,215 strikeouts, 49 shutouts and has worked in 167 games. Most among active pitchers in the Division I, across the board. And wait till you hear what she’s been up to this season.
“One of the most intelligent women I’ve ever coached,” Eriksen said over the phone this week, and since he has spent 25 years leading the South Florida program and been a force in Team USA international efforts for decades, he’s coached a few. “She’s a pleasure to watch out there because she’s an artist, and a surgeon and a chess player and a great teammate.“Young coaches sometimes don’t appreciate stuff until it’s gone. When you recognize talent like this at my age, you start to appreciate it while it’s here.”
But we’ll get back to Georgina Corrick in a moment. First, it should be mentioned how the stat sheets around the nation aren’t just informative this softball season, they’re oohing and ahhhhing. A lot of extraordinary individual numbers are out there.
There’s a pitcher from Oklahoma, Hope Trautwein, who has pitched 69 innings and allowed one earned run. That’s part of the incandescent stat package for the 42-1 Sooners, who have outscored their prey 402-36, out-homered them 114-6, scored 47 more runs in the first inning this season than the opponents have scored total, and send up a hitter — Jocelyn Alo — whose on-base percentage is a staggering .636.
There’s a slugger from Wichita State, Addison Barnard, who has hit 26 home runs. There are 144 Division I teams who don’t have that many.
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There’s a hitter from Howard, Camille Navarro, who has struck out twice in 134 at-bats. Her last whiff was in February.
There’s a pitcher from Arizona State, Marissa Schuld, whose strikeout-walk ratio is 82-5. The graduate transfer from Arizona owns a perfect game this season . . . against Arizona.
And there’s Georgina Corrick, the South Florida pitching machine.
With it being @USFSoftball senior weekend, it is only fitting that today's Throwback Thursday is of @georgecorrick breaking the strikeout record!#HornsUp🤘 | #TBThursday pic.twitter.com/qpJdqPdJ2y— USF Athletics (@USFAthletics) April 28, 2022
The most innings any pitcher has worked in Division 1 baseball is 71.2 innings. Corrick has gone out there 217 innings for South Florida. To be sure, it’s a different game, different arm motion, different stress on the arm and shoulder and elbow. But still.
Corrick has thrown 26 complete games — one more than batters she's walked. She personally accounts for 28 of the Bulls’ 36 current victories and has appeared in 37 of South Florida's 49 games. She has struck out 331 batters, which are 50 more than any other pitcher in Division I softball. Her earned run average is 0.48, third best in the nation. The 36-13 Bulls have played only 117 innings all year without her in the circle.
All those stats leave her notably unfazed. “I’m not really a numbers gal. I’m a marine biology major. Never really liked math, don’t do the whole math thing,” she said. The graduate student is one of the best-read students Eriksen has ever seen, but ask her how many innings she has pitched this year and there is only a vague guess. Maybe 200, she answers. Try 217. The response is more or less a shrug.
But others are taking notice. That relentless right arm has put a spotlight on South Florida softball, and her. The stories are told of how she was born in Great Britain and her family moved to this country when she was very young (she’s still a British citizen). How Eriksen found her by accident, scouting someone else at a travel league game, when he noticed this young lady mowing down hitters with poise and aplomb. He asked someone where the pitcher was going to college the next year.
The response: “Coach, she’s only 13.”
Corrick was on Eriksen’s radar screen to stay, and look where it has led.
“Obviously, the recognition we as a program have been getting this year has been exponential compared to years previous,” Corrick said. That can happen when the star is apparently unbreakable, often unhittable, and entirely comfortable using the word exponential in a sentence.
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Said Eriksen: “I think this is something that she gets at her age, that when you’re on your deathbed, it’s not the numbers you’re ever going to think about. It’s about the experiences. The numbers are important because they helped us succeed but at the end of the day, it isn’t going to be what I remember Georgina Corrick about. It’s going to be about the four or five years she was here, and how she became the Pied Piper and the face of the program, not just locally but nationally.”
It has to be comforting for a coach. No matter the location, the opponent, the weather, the phase of the moon, Corrick is usually out there, giving the team a chance to win. She has been a part of seven no-hitters, and threw her first perfect game in March. Last May, she kept the Bulls alive in the NCAA Regional by no-hitting Baylor at 4:30 p.m. and three-hitting South Alabama at 7 o’clock.
“My last five years have been very serene because of that. It’s almost like you’re going to go BG and AG – Before George and After George,” Eriksen said.
How is this happening? Corrick is an ardent student of her craft, understanding every batter is a unique challenge, breaking the strike zone into quadrants and investigating the hitters for holes and how to address them. Eriksen has such confidence in the judgment of Corrick and catcher Josie Foreman, he allows them to call the pitches themselves.
But there is an unquenchable fire to go along with that academic approach.
“Off the field I’m not very aggressive, I don’t stand up for myself very much, I’m a very passive person," Corrick said. “That kind of goes out the window when I get the chance to pitch. I get to go out there and decide that I’m better than somebody else, and I get to out-compete somebody every single pitch, every single at-bat. That for me is kind of this fun little alter ego I get to put on. It doesn’t feel like me, I feel like I have two people, one of which plays softball, one of which does not.”
Eriksen looks at Corrick and sees three softball pitching legends of the past; Joan Joyce, Lisa Fernandez and Cat Osterman. Competitors with a steely focus that bounced from hitter to hitter, indefatigable and unending. “Every one of the people I mentioned was like, give me the ball, I want the ball. That’s pretty special in itself,” he said. “They have a very short memory of success and they have a very short memory of failure.”
But does Corrick ever get, you know, tired?
All Hail Queen George!— British Softball Federation (@BritishSoftball) April 26, 2022
GB pitcher @georgecorrick is a finalist for US Collegiate Player of the Year with @USFSoftball!
Read all about her EPIC season: https://t.co/WTsIi3xiiT pic.twitter.com/uOb2ncbEuT
“She won’t admit it,” Eriksen said. “There’s a sense sometimes of forced resignation when the coach says, `all right, you’re not throwing today.”’
Eriksen goes into each weekend not exactly sure how often he will send out Corrick. Friday for sure. After that, it’s all by feel. So the innings pile up, which is fine with the pitcher. “My teammates will talk about all the innings and sometimes those things really don’t add up to me because as many innings as I’ve thrown in a game I’ve thrown four times as many innings in bullpens or training,” she said. “It’s not the physical exhaustion as much as the mental exhaustion.
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“Getting the privilege and the honor to start as many games as I have here, it starts to kind of blur into one. I have to learn to separate it in my own head so I don’t get caught up in the number of pitches and the number of games I’ve been throwing.”
Her teammates often help her to take breaks away from the game, so the mental aspect is refreshed. The arm is almost always ready. She’s pitched sick — non-COVID sick — when a fever wasn’t going to stop her. “Some of that competitiveness is probably a little stupid sometimes,” she said.. But one thing she really doesn’t care for — not pitching.
“I don’t like being off the field. Part of being a pitcher is we like to have this sense of control. At the end of the day when we’re throwing a game we control the game. Being on the bench, it makes me feel a little powerless, which I really hate,” she said.
On those days, she is a boisterous dugout cheerleader. And . . . she’s picks up the bats for her teammates. A bat girl with 28 victories. “I want my teammates to know I’ve got their back in anything I do,” she said.
It will be over soon at South Florida, though Corrick is hoping for a long postseason run. Then come, she hopes, a chance to pitch professionally. And there is the dream of playing in the Olympics for Great Britain. When she was six years old and asked at school about what she wanted to do when she grew up, she answered to be an Olympian. She also will help with the USF program, and the pitchers coming after her. The AG years, as Eriksen said.
And there will always be the sea.
“I’m hoping when my knees have given out and my bones are too old and brittle for me to really do too much, I still have a chance to work in marine conservation,” she said.
Especially with sharks. Georgina Corrick has a thing for sharks. Then again, she pitches like one.