URBANDALE, Ia. – Debby Day is no stranger to the softball diamond in the NCAA. For the last two summers she has made her mark by trading her coaching shoes for playing cleats, taking her talents to the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA), an organization that hosts the largest men’s fastpitch softball tournament in the world. Not only has she defied the gender barrier, but in 2013 she was named the NAFA A World Series co-Most Valuable Pitcher for her performance in the circle for the World Series Champion Long Beach Wolfpack.
Undeterred from the fact that it is a men’s league, Day has proven her ability to not only play with and against the competition of her male opponents, but to succeed. During the week, Day produced an overall record of 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA in 30 innings with 14 strike outs.
Though the environment was hostile last year, it was a completely different atmosphere this time around.
“Honestly, it was one of the coolest playing experiences I have had in a while,” she shared. “Not only were the opposing teams and fans accepting, but having the other Southern California teams out there watching us on Sunday was really incredible and we were very appreciative of that support.”
At the Walker-Johnson Softball Complex from August 15-18, Day and the Wolfpack went a combined 6-1 at the four-day double elimination tournament. Her team won the championship game by a 7-3 margin over the Kansas City Outlaws on Sunday, Aug. 18 after a disappointing loss in the morning, making the final a must-win. The championship game also marked the third consecutive meeting between the two teams.
Unlike in the early meeting of the day when the Wolfpack collected just three hits against KC in a 6-0 shutout, the squad regrouped and came back with hot bats to pound out 12 hits in the final game. They also used rallies in back-to-back games to even be in the hunt for the title.
“This is an amazing group of guys and the camaraderie of this team is great,” Day shared. “We really came together to earn this title and they made it easy to pitch when I had run support.”
Day, one of two female pitchers in the 40-team field, hurled an opening day complete game as the Wolfpack earned an 8-5 victory over the Kansas City Angels.
On Friday morning Day threw another complete game as Long Beach downed the Iowa-Fenders Cycle 8-1. The afternoon contest saw two California teams pitted against one another. The Wolfpack was victorious, taking down the Black Sox 12-9, as the CLU head softball coach tossed three innings, to remain undefeated.
Saturday, Day pitched her pack to a 4-0 record with a 10-9 extra innings victory over Northern Michigan. The Wolfpack and Outlaws met for the first time on Saturday evening with Long Beach stealing a 5-4 walk-off win.
Almost a year ago to the day, Day became the first female pitcher to earn a victory at the NAFA World Series when the Balboa Fastpitch team secured an 8-2 win on August 19, 2012.
Day had a stellar collegiate career, playing two seasons at the University of Texas Arlington where she led the nation in strike outs in 1988, broke seven school records including innings pitched, strikeouts and ERA and was named to the All-Conference team twice and in 1989 led her team to a conference title.
From there she played a pair of seasons at the University of Arizona where she led the Wildcats to the1991 NCAA Division I National title. The 1992 team won the Pac-10 and was the National runner-up. Day was named an All-American, All-World Series and All-Pac-10 both years.
At Cal Lutheran, she has been at the helm of the Regals for a decade and holds 205 career wins, the most in school history.