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Former Webster softball player, alumna pitches first ball since 2007
Gail Vogt pitched her first softball since her last game at Webster University seven years ago.
“I really love being in that center controlling of the game. I thrive off the energy,” Vogt said. “You feel like you contributed a lot to every segment of the game. And I feel like being a pitcher, you’re also a leader of the team. You kind of have to be; you’re standing in the middle of the field.”
Vogt recently found a fast-pitch softball league in San Diego, Calif., where she now lives. Vogt said she was surprised the time off from pitching did not take too much off of her speed and movement.
Vogt, a 2008 alumna, was inducted into the Webster University Athletics Hall of Fame (HOF) on Saturday, Feb. 8.
Vogt was St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (SLIAC) Softball Player of the Year in 2007. She was a pitcher for Webster, and also a strong hitter with Webster’s second -highest career batting average (.404). She holds Webster’s pitching record for most innings pitched and is second for strikeouts.
Before stepping out onto the field again, Vogt practiced with one of the San Diego team’s catchers. She described going out on the pitching mound for a game as “invigorating.”
“Even though it looks repetitive, it’s not. You are constantly tweaking every pitch,” Vogt said. “You’re thinking about your teammates behind you — supporting them and making sure to pull your weight.”
Kelli Dean, a former teammate of Vogt’s, was a catcher for most of her softball career at Webster. At the HOF family and friends celebration on Feb. 8, she shared stories from when she and Vogt played together. She recalled one game in Bloomington, Ill. in which Vogt hit a ball out of the park.
“She hit it so far out of the park that we wanted to go find the ball to give to her, and we couldn’t find it. There was like 15 of us searching … and we weren’t able to find it,” Dean said.
Dean said a woman came up to their bus when they pulled out of the parking lot with the ball in hand.
“You (Gail) are a perfect fit for what Webster stands for as a student and an athlete,” Dean said at the HOF family celebration. “You can ask anyone who saw Gail play: she was our best hitter, our best pitcher and a fierce competitor.”
Vogt remembers her final SLIAC tournament with the Gorloks — Webster won the conference.
“It was competitive. We worked hard and it wasn’t given to us,” Vogt said. “It was a lot of work to get it done, but it totally paid off. We were the ones that stood out at the end of the day.”
Another memorable moment for Vogt was the team’s game against Washington University in the regional tournament. She said that was the team’s best performance against Wash U.
“They were a tough competitor and we hung with them,” Vogt said.
Webster lost that game. The next day, Vogt said strangers told her and the team what a great game it was. For Vogt, a close game makes a great game.
“I don’t like games that are a blowout. Those games aren’t as fun as the games that are close. It keeps you in the game.”
Vogt played softball for three years. She didn’t play for her senior year so she could focus on finishing her degree in marketing at Webster. Vogt said she did not plan on becoming a professional softball player. She knew that if she did both softball and the competitive advertising class that neither would have been done to the level she wanted.
“If I would have played ball I wouldn’t have been able to be involved in the level that I was in the advertising competition. And vice versa: softball would have suffered as well,” Vogt said. “I wanted to do it all, so I had to choose one way.”
She said growing up playing ball made her think and work in a team-centered way. That team-centered mind-set has helped Vogt in her career after Webster. She is the vice president of marketing at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.
“I can’t catch every ball and I can’t hit every pitch,” Vogt said. “You have to rely on teammates to help you out, and that has definitely carried over into my career.”