Champion pitcher Zigmont confident about college choice

Tribune Chronicle file McKenzie Zigmont pitched Champion to the regional tournament last spring, her junior year, and her first season as the Golden Flashes’ primary pitcher.

Champion softball pitcher McKenzie Zigmont has “always been a very confident young lady”, according to Flashes coach Cheryl Weaver.

If Zigmont wasn’t already brimming with self-confidence before the 2016 season, her junior campaign certainly elevated her confidence even more, if not the expectations placed on her, as well.

In 2016, Zigmont’s Golden Flashes went 26-5 and made it all the way to a Division III regional semifinal. Zigmont herself went 20-2 in her first year as Champion’s ace pitcher, and got her first taste of what it’s like to pitch in high-pressure postseason games.

Even despite a loss in regional play to South Range, Zigmont’s confidence remains as high as ever.

“I loved it,” Zigmont said about pitching in the 2016 postseason. “I feel like I handled the pressure pretty well, and even when I gave up those five runs to South Range, I didn’t let it get to me.

“I just tried to relax, and for the rest of the game, it worked. I only gave up one more run the rest of the way. I think for the upcoming season, we will be a lot better, as a team. That experience (against South Range) really helped us.”

Zigmont, who recently signed her National Letter of Intent with South Euclid’s Notre Dame College, will study nursing in the fall of 2017. One of the things she’ll take with her is a powerful fastball, which is said to reach as high as 62 miles per hour.

In fact, according to Zigmont, she’s always been a curveball pitcher who focuses on the outside corner. However, she says she’s recently improved on throwing more pitches inside, thanks to her fastball and a better rise ball.

Weaver, meanwhile, came away impressed with what she witnessed from Zigmont this past season.

“(Zigmont’s best moment so far was) definitely last year. We are blessed with pitchers (at Champion), and she had to wait her turn,” Weaver said. “It was really her first year of being a No. 1 pitcher and she goes ahead and takes us to regionals.

“That was a really defining moment for her. To only lose two games all year was so impressive.”

Zigmont said she chose to attend Notre Dame College not only because of its strong nursing program, but also, the fact that unlike most schools, Notre Dame allows nursing students to play softball.

While Weaver believes Zigmont is certainly ready for the next level, and will do a “fabulous job,” she’s not alone. In fact, Notre Dame softball coach Amy Kyler recently gave McKenzie her own stamp of approval.

“I got a text from coach (Kyler) and she told me I could be a performance player and a standout as a freshman,” Zigmont said. “That makes me really proud to be thought of that highly at a place like Notre Dame.”