WPIAL Alum Q&A – Portia McBride

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 | 9:14 AM

Portia McBride has enjoyed a memorable softball career, from an unexpected hero on the Elizabeth Forward High School team, to a trio of stops in the college ranks. McBride is now winding down her career at California University of Pennsylvania, and has been stellar in the circle in 2017. She is this week’s feature for the WPIAL Alum Q&A.

McBride rose to prominence in her prep career in surprising fashion in 2012. As a junior for the Warriors, she was expected to be only make a handful of starts at pitcher. An injury to the primary pitcher prior to the season thrust McBride into the role of workhorse, though, and she responded with a sensational campaign. She factored in every decision for EF, going 17-8. In the process, she guided the Warriors to playoff wins against Indiana, Ambridge and Greensburg Salem. As a result, the Warriors made it to the Class AAA WPIAL Championship, but ultimately fell to Montour. The team also qualified for the PIAA postseason.

As a senior in 2013, McBride faced high expectations, but produced another stellar season. She went 15-4, with an ERA of 1.43, striking out 147 batters in 137 innings. The Warriors again made the postseason, defeating New Castle in the opening round. Elizabeth Forward was bounced in the quarterfinals, however, losing to West Allegheny.

Following that campaign, McBride joined Mercyhurst North East. As a freshman, she tossed more than 100 innings, going 12-2. Additionally, she posted an ERA of 2.12 and struck out 128 batters.

In her sophomore season, McBride was even better, compiling a record of 19-5, along with one save. She lowered her ERA to 1.89 and fanned 197 hitters in just fewer than 160 innings.

As a junior, McBride transferred to Mercyhurst University, and played one season with the Lakers. In that campaign, she was limited to 14 games, including five starts. She finished with a record of 2-3, leading the squad in ERA (3.00) and strikeouts (44). The Lakers struggled, though, going 13-23.

For her senior year, McBride transferred to Cal U, where she is enjoying a terrific season. She’s pitched in 21 games, including 15 starts, and has a mark of 8-4. Her ERA of 2.01 is tops on the Vulcans, as are her 74 strikeouts. The team finished the regular-season slate at 21-15, including a record of 12-8 in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference play. The Vulcans will commence PSAC postseason play later this week against West Chester.

Portia dedicated time from her schedule to answer questions about why she chose to transfer to Cal U, her most enjoyable college class, and what she would buy first if she woke up as a millionaire tomorrow.

Q: Thus far you’ve had a very successful senior season. What has been the key to your pitching success?

A: Practice, practice, practice. We put in so much work each day to make sure we reach those goals we each set for ourselves. I have never been on a harder-working team than Cal U softball. 

Q: What pitches do you throw, and is there a particular pitch with which you feel most confident?

A: I really only have about three pitches; riseball, curveball, and changeup. I know a lot of people think pitchers need to have five or six pitches, but that’s not true at all. If you work extremely hard at 2-3 different pitches, then you can defeat any team. I feel most confident with my rise ball pitch.

Q: How have you acclimated with your new coaches and teammates at Cal U?

A: In the beginning, it was definitely challenging because I was new to the team. In time, we all have got to know each other a lot better, so after that, I have gained a lot of friendships. 

Q: What are your individual goals, and the team’s goals for the season?

A: My individual goal is just to be the best I can be. I want to end my season knowing I did everything I could to win games and help support the team to regionals, then all the way through to nationals. 

Q: Why did you choose Cal U as your destination to transfer?

A: I chose Cal U because I wanted to end my season with a bang. I wanted to be on a team that works hard and has the drive to win games. I am incredibly happy I made that decision, because I found what I was looking for. 

Q: What was your experience like, first at Mercyhurst North East, and then Mercyhurst?

A: I absolutely loved Mercyhurst North East. I wish it was a four-year school. I’m still heartbroken that I no longer play there. The friendships I made there will definitely last a lifetime. Coach Brian Dewey and Coach Ron Bretz are amazing at what they do, and I recommend anyone going there. Mercyhurst main campus was a little bit of a different story. I loved the girls there; they are kind-hearted people. But softball wise, I did not find what I was looking for, which is why I decided to transfer. 

Q: What is your major and ideal future profession?

A: I get this question a lot from relatives and friends, and my answer is simply I have no clue. I don’t think most 22 year olds know what they want to do for the rest of their lives. I am thinking about joining the State Police academy, but that is not a set decision yet. 

Q: What has been your most enjoyable class in college?

A: My most enjoyable class in college would most likely be sociology of sport. I love this class because we talk about how sports affect society and how it is or isn’t necessary to the community. 

Q: What was your fondest memory from Elizabeth Forward?

A: My fondest memory of Elizabeth Forward would probably be Mr. Day’s physics class and Mr. Feick’s math class. We would get our work done, but it was laid back and us students would joke around with those teachers all day long.

Q: What was the biggest key to the Warriors achieving great success during your time there?

A: The biggest key was just working hard. I also think having the friendship and camaraderie within the team helped us tremendously. 

Q: Who was the toughest hitter you faced in high school?

A: The toughest hitters I faced in high school were probably the sisters who played for Belle Vernon, Haley Bashada and her younger sister, Natalie Bashada. They are very talented at sports, and their hard work shows through the success they each had. 

Q: Who is your favorite athlete?

A: My favorite athlete is probably Sierra Romero. She plays pro softball for USSSA Pride, and was a Michigan State player. She seems like a good-hearted person who has a lot of drive in life. 

Q: If you woke up as a millionaire tomorrow, what would you buy first?

A: If I woke up as a millionaire tomorrow, I would buy my dad and stepmom a brand new house and pay off all of their debt for them. They have supported me through everything in life, not just softball. I can always count on my dad or stepmom to be there for me. 

Q: What is a hidden talent you possess or a little-known fact about you?

A: That’s a tough one. I don’t have many other talents besides softball honestly. I think I am pretty good at singing, but then again that’s what anyone would say about themselves! 

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