Athlete of the Week: Samantha Skillingstad

Jack Hunter

Samantha Skillingstad is this week’s Athlete of the Week for her contribution during last week’s Fall Fest Tournament hosted by the University. Skillingstad was a part of two combined no-hitters, one against Southwestern Oregon Community College and another against Chemeketa. Skillingstad struck out 17 batters in three appearances over the weekend. The Emerald caught up with the Spokane, Wash., native on Wednesday.

Oregon Daily Emerald: You were born and raised in Spokane … did you grow up a Gonzaga fan or a Washington State fan?

Samantha Skillingstad: I am a big Gonzaga basketball fan. I was around when Adam Morrison was there and he rocked the mustache … Dan Dickau … It was a great time. I’ve always been a big ‘Zags fan.

ODE: Not really Washington State though?

SS: A little bit, but not really though. Just for football. They don’t have a softball team, so it was hard to be really a fan.

ODE: So when you were looking into schools and getting recruited, why did you choose Oregon?

SS: I wanted to be close to home and I wanted to go Pac-10. My top schools in the area were Oregon, Oregon State and Washington, and I really liked Oregon. It felt like home.

ODE: Didn’t look into Gonzaga at all?

SS: They don’t have a softball team either … kind of slim pickings over there.

ODE: If you weren’t playing softball, what sport would you be playing?

SS: I’d probably be playing volleyball. I love volleyball, although I’m not as tall for it. I played libero and back row in high school for two years on the varsity.

ODE: Did you play anything in the winter?

SS: Just softball. We played all year round.

ODE: What’s your favorite thing to do outside of sports?

SS: I love music and I love concerts. We went to the Dave Matthews concert over in the Gorge this summer and that was amazing. I love outdoor venues.

ODE: What’s your favorite kind of music?

SS: I like alternative and I really like the mellow. I like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Doors, the old AC/DC.

ODE: So on game day, you’re on the bus and you have your headphones on. What do you do to get ready for a game?

SS: I listen to a few of my favorite songs to get pumped up. Usually I find kind of mellow songs to get me zoned in like Dave (Matthews), Jack Johnson or Led Zeppelin.

ODE: What’s your “walk-up” song?

SS: Last year I had “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin and “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC. I don’t know what I’m going to have this year.

ODE: Is there a big process to get it narrowed down?

SS: Kind of. You’ll just be in the car and you’ll be like, “Hey, that kind of sounds good.” You’re always kind of looking for a song, I guess.

ODE: When you are out there in the field, how do you get yourself mentally prepared while you do your warm-up pitches?

SS: I like to take charge. I get mentally prepared by watching every pitch work. I’ll just visualize a perfect rise ball or a perfect curve ball or a perfect drop ball. I visualize every pitch working the best. I think positively.

ODE: What’s your “go-to” pitch when you know some things aren’t working as well? What’s that one that you know you can throw for a strike every single time?

SS: Usually the rise ball inside. Sometimes people lay off of it, but that’s my favorite pitch and that’s my bread-and-butter pitch.

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