The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Panthers softball player centers life around the diamond

City College Patti Swimley (6) is on-deck in the bottom of the second inning in the game against Ohlone College in game two of a doubleheader at The Yard at City College Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. City College defeated Ohlone College 2-1. (Sara Nevis/[email protected])

Patti Swimley has had softball and baseball in her life before she could even talk or walk on her own. 

“I was 4 days old when my mom took me to my first baseball game. It’s kind of just been ingrained in my entire life,” said Swimley.

Swimley has been playing softball since she was 6. Currently, the business marketing major plays second base and shortstop for the City College softball team. Most of her life up to this point has been focused on being the best softball player she can be.

“I would say I spend six-ish hours a day on the field or doing extra hitting. It takes up a lot of my time, but I enjoy it, so it’s worth it,” said Swimley.

Swimley’s dedication and drive for softball were instilled in her by her family. She said since she was 12 years old, she was expected to live up to certain standards.

“A lot of the expectations were mostly from my family— that I have to work harder, hussle everywhere I go,” said Swimley.” A lot of things that people are expected [to do] in college were expected of me at a very young age.”

But Swimley was able to handle those expectations by learning from her father, grandfather and sister. 

“They’ve basically taught me everything I knew up until here,” Swimley said.

She comes from a family with a lot of experience in softball and baseball. Her grandfather, Phil Swimley, coached baseball at UC Davis for over 35 years, and her father, Steve Swimley, coached both softball and baseball at Davis High School for over 20 years.

Swimley’s sister, Sammy, played softball for about 16 years. Swimley said she learned how to adjust to expectations by watching her sister prepare and play in games. 

“I have a sister who’s like 10 years older than me, so I saw those things expected of her, so I kind of adapted to it pretty quickly,” said Swimley. 

While playing softball at Davis High School, she caught the attention of City College head softball coach Tim Kiernan. 

“She really hustles,” said Kiernan. “She’s a good team player, she’s always trying to improve, she’s a really good student, too. She had the best hands of any infielder that I saw around when I was recruiting.”

City College Patti Swimley (6) turns a double play in the top of the sixth inning against ARC in game two of a doubleheader at The Yard at City College Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. Swimley has one hit in two at bat and two RBIs. City College defeated ARC 7-1. (Sara Nevis/[email protected])

Swimley said she’s had fast hands since she started playing softball.

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“It’s just been like that since I was a kid,” Swimley said. “I’ve gotten them faster, but I’ve always naturally had pretty fast hands.”

Those hands have helped her make key plays for her team. Kiernan said Swimley has turned some nice double plays, including one recent play against American River College.

“She’s turned some good double plays,” Kiernan said. “We were in a 5-4-3. The third baseman led her, and she turned that double play before [the player running for the base] was probably four steps from the bag.”

Swimley’s positive attitude when it comes to softball separates her from other softball players. Swimley’s teammate Mia Santos said Swimley doesn’t allow negativity to affect her play too much, which helps Swimley keep her composure during games and allows her to perform at her best.

 “A lot of people get thrown in with the negativity, but Patti just brushes it off and just keeps playing her game instead of other people’s game,” said Santos. ”She has a very strong sense of self in terms of softball, and she knows the game more than anybody else, and she just builds off that.”

Those characteristics have helped Swimley lead the team. 

“Patti is one of the stronger leaders because of her attitude and because of the way that she doesn’t let the game affect her mentally or physically,” said Santos.

Swimely said she knows that keeping a strong mindset and staying positive are important for her performance on the field, which she keeps in mind when she’s preparing for games.

“I try and stay loose and stress free because I found that I cannot play when I’m really stressed or really intense,” Swimley said. “It’s just a headspace kind of thing.”

Swimley said she’s got tunnel vision when she’s in a game, and the only thing that matters to her during that time is what’s going on and what about to happen next on the field.

“I call it getting into game mode,” Swimley said. “I just kind of shut everything in my life out, and it’s just focusing on the next play—the next pitch. I don’t really think about anything else.” 

Now playing her second season at City College, Swimley recalled that during the summer of her sophomore year of high school she questioned whether or not she wanted to play any more. 

“I just wanted to figure out if it’s something that I really liked as opposed to something that my family has just always done,” Swimley said. 

Swimley found out quickly that she did have love for the game, and she was fortunate to be in a family that is more than willing to help her be a better player.

“I just missed it,” Swimley said. “It was really just realizing that I do actually like the game instead of this is what I’ve been put into by my family.”

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