In the world of softball, Becky Demko was late to the circle. But she was also an incredibly quick learner.
So quick that Demko established herself as a premier pitcher in the Wyoming Valley Conference throughout her career, which ended in the Hazleton Area star being named The Times Leader Player of the Year.
Demko’s number were quite impressive in earning Times Leader All-WVC first-team honors once again. She posted an 11-1 record with 99 strikeouts, 23 walks and a 0.80 ERA in 88 innings pitched in WVC play. All those statistics improved except for her ERA, which was 0.51 as a junior.
Now consider unlike many softball pitchers, Demko didn’t start working at her craft until she was 12 years old.
Until then, Demko played baseball, which was a challenge in itself playing as a girl against boys. When she switched to softball at 12, she wanted to be a pitcher. Her dad found a pitching coach and the road to success began.
“I did Little League Baseball and I had to transfer over to softball,” Demko said. “My dad was like ‘Do you want to be a pitcher in softball?’ I was like ‘Sure why not?’”
Baseball presented a challenge, but softball did as well.
“It was a big transition,” Demko said. “It’s not like playing with the boys. Softball was a little harder because the ball is bigger. Just adjusting your bat to it.”
Demko was a first baseman and right fielder in baseball. Once inside the pitching circle in softball, she rarely left.
Pitching can carry a team far in softball. But the position requires more than just skill. It’s a nerve-wracking job, especially when the other team starts its dugout chants. The mental aspect is just as important at times as physical ability.
“You just kind of block all that out,” Demko said, “so it doesn’t go to your head like the cheering or the cheering of the other team or fans. You just kind of focus on the game and not think about anything. You have to play with a clear head.”
Demko will continue pitching in college at Penn State Berks. She leaves Hazleton Area with more than just amazing numbers.
“Yeah, you play to win,” Demko said. “But after everything, you remember all the good memories with everyone. All the jokes, all the team fun.”