Amber Fullwood has become quite a factor on Florida A&M’s softball team.
Her ability to pitch and be an asset at the plate has helped her make an immediate impact in her first year as a Rattler.The 18-year-old former standout from Chamberlain High School in Tampa has recorded nine strikeouts and boasts a slugging percentage of .364 this season.
Fullwood has put in work on the mound against left-handed batters, despite the team’s 1-9 record. Opposing lefties are currently batting .176 against Fullwood.
Assistant coach Lori Goodart has been impressed with Fullwood’s performance.
“She has set goals for herself, and you can tell that she’s sticking to them,” Goodart said. “She really has the athletic ability and desire to be a standout player.”
Fullwood has been playing softball for 11 years and contributes her passion to her family.
“I’m the youngest of three, so it keeps me pretty busy,” Fullwood said.
Now a Division I student-athlete, Fullwood said the pressures have begun to sink in.
“This is the real deal,” Fullwood said. “Every day, coach (Veronica) Wiggins asks me am I working hard enough to reach my goals.”
The transition from high school to college for athletes isn’t always easy. Increased athletic goals, responsibilities of college classes and being away from home can make life for a freshman student-athlete stressful.
But Fullwood has made quite an impression among her seven freshman teammates.
Tashayla Irvis, first-year occupational therapy student from Lake Wales, Fla., said Fullwood’s spirit and work ethic inspires her freshman teammates.
“We are all new, so it helps to have girls like [Amber] on the team,” Irvis said. “Her high energy and hustle mentality encourages us all.”
Fullwood’s ability to control her emotions during a game also make her a key player on the field in Goodart’s eyes.
“You can tell when she’s really zoned in and has that competitive edge,” Goodart said.
Fullwood said she isn’t concerned with her stats or the pressures of the early losing.
“I take every game and every practice a day at a time,” Fullwood said. “No one will ever know I’m having a bad day because I smile through it all.”
Fullwood’s transition is a testament of hard work and dedication to the game. Her potential as a Division I student-athlete highlights her love and work ethic as a starting pitcher.
“I believe hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” Fullwood said, quoting Tim Notke.