Softball player Autumn Bishop looks to improve on strong freshman season
Concussions could not stop Liberty softball player, Autumn Bishop. During her first season as a Lady Flame, Bishop became the first freshman in program history to be named NFCA All-Mid-Atlantic Region first team utility player. Her efforts also crowned her three Big South Freshman of the Week awards.
Bishop and her twin sister, Amber, have been playing softball together since they were 5 and they are still teammates at Liberty today. The sisters even stand next to each other on the field, with Autumn on first and Amber on second. Bishop said they both decided to come to Liberty because they wanted to go far from their home in Murrieta, California, and loved the aspect of pursuing softball while growing closer to the Lord.
“I don’t even know how different it would be if we were at different schools,” Bishop said. “We were planning on separating, but it’s just too hard because she’s my best friend and we compete with one another. I just don’t see us being separated on the softball field.”
Last year, Bishop’s success was not thwarted by her bad luck with concussions. In addition to her other awards, Bishop ranked second in the Big South in on-base percentage and fourth in batting average.
“Last year was not really what I expected it to be like,” Bishop said. “I didn’t get to play much because of the injury. Before that happened, it was really fun. Like, I am in college and I’m playing softball in college. That was just unreal to me. So many girls don’t get that opportunity.”
Even having earned each of these achievements, Bishop said her favorite memory from last year was cheering on her sister.
“My sister, she’s like this big-time, crazy powerful hitter,” Bishop said. “I was out and I couldn’t be in the dugout for the game so they put me in the press box. One game she hit this crazy home run, and she got to home plate and I’m up there freaking out and she looks up to me and I’m like ‘Yeah, that’s my sister!’ It was just really fun to watch and see everything go on.”
Bishop admitted that it sometimes is a challenge to be compared to her twin when they truly are different players and people, but ultimately, the competition is welcomed.
“I always want to one-up her and she always wants to one-up me, so it’s fun,” Bishop said.
With the start of her second season this past Friday, Feb. 9, Bishop brings new goals to the table, like increasing her RBI percentage, moving more runners around and the team having a higher fielding percentage with fewer strikeouts. But her main goal, she said, is to be a team-player.
“I think I just want to help my team out in any way I could,” Bishop said. “What motivates me is because I love softball so much. It’s unreal, I just want to do my best every time we practice and get better. I think for me it’s hard to see everyone doing so good and I’m not doing anything to help my team, so I just don’t want that to happen.”
Her love for the game is what motivates Bishop the most. Even her teammates joke that she will someday be “the old woman who plays the slow-pitch softball thing.”
Bishop described her team as a huge family, and she said the chemistry they have built off the field is what has contributed to the team’s success on the field.
“If you don’t respect one another, you’re not going to be there for one another,” Bishop said. “So just being close with each other is really good because you have that respect for everyone on the field. You want to do good for the person beside you and you want them to do well for you.”
According to Bishop, Liberty Women’s softball is ready to confront the challenges this season.
“We’re working hard and getting stuff done,” Bishop said. “I think the team looks really solid this year. Just from the practices we have been having, we’ve been learning so much that will help us through the season.”