Shaw shines in first full season on the mound for Iowa softball

Senior southpaw Lauren Shaw is Iowa softball’s most animated pitcher, energizing her teammates from infield to outfield.


Grace Smith

Iowa pitcher, Lauren Shaw, pitches the ball during the Iowa softball game v. Northwestern at Pearl Field on Friday, April 16, 2021. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes with a score of 7-0. (Grace Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

After every out she gets on the mound, senior pitcher Lauren Shaw swipes her hand across her forehead toward first base.

It’s a tradition she has with freshman catcher Lindy Milkowski, who mirrors Shaw’s post-out movement behind home plate.

Even when Milkowski isn’t on the receiving end of Shaw’s pitches, Shaw still performs the post-out motion.

“She has to have that positivity and high energy when she pitches,” Hawkeye head coach Renee Gillispie said. “You can tell she’s always smiling — that’s when she’s into the game, and when she’s into the game, that’s when she has her best games.”

This year, Shaw is on track to play her first full season in a Hawkeye uniform.

Shaw was sidelined for half of her freshman campaign with an injury. That same injury also forced her to miss the entirety of her sophomore season.

Shaw was finally back at full strength in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic halted her junior season shortly after it began.

“I’m just doing my best to have fun and enjoy it,” Shaw said. “It’s my last season. I didn’t really get to play my freshman year, didn’t play at all my sophomore year, and last year was cut short, so this is my first full season, and I’m just doing my best to enjoy it and have fun and do anything I can to stay smiling on the mound. And I happen to do better when I am smiling, so that helps.”

Shaw’s energy is infectious, and it gives Iowa’s defenders from the infield to the outfield a boost when she is pitching.

“I think everyone just feeds off each other [in games],” junior outfielder Riley Sheehy said. “So, having Shaw in the circle is really energizing for everyone and helps us to feed off of that, and she is able to feed back off of us, so it just creates a really positive atmosphere all around.”

Shaw is a part of what Gillispie has dubbed “the trio” of Iowa softball. Shaw is joined in “the trio” by senior right-hand pitchers Sarah Lehman and Allison Doocy.

In 27 of Iowa’s 28 games this season, Lehman, Shaw, or Doocy has been the Hawkeyes’ pitcher of decision.

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Shaw has been Iowa’s most successful pitcher of late, boasting a 1.95 ERA through 57 innings pitched this season. The LaGrange, Ohio, native has amassed a 4-2 overall record in 2021, and she picked up her first save of the season in the Hawkeyes’ 5-2 win over Northwestern on April 18.

At practice, Iowa’s coaching staff tells Shaw to keep hitters “off-balance,” so Shaw tries to make sure her foes in the batter’s box perpetually uncomfortable.

“I just do my best to mix in different pitches and different speeds in my pitches,” Shaw said. “Varying in counts and making sure I’m not going to give the same batter the same pitches. So, making sure that, as the next time they come through the lineup, making sure I throw at them a little bit differently, and just adjusting to the batter’s strengths and weaknesses to put myself in the best position for success.”