Head coach Todd Fairbourne said that pitching has kept the Wolverines’ softball team in games this season, and Tiffany Mills is at the head of the pitching staff.
Mills leads the team in almost every pitching category, including starts, appearances, wins, ERA, saves and innings pitched. Those numbers, among other things that can’t be measured with statistics, make her invaluable to her team.
“She’s ultra competitive and obviously a solid pitcher,” Fairbourne said. “She’s also one of the finest defensive pitchers I’ve ever seen – she makes plays. It’s not just the quality of pitcher that she is, but to have one of your biggest competitors in circle is huge.”
Mills, along with teammates Amanda Robinson and Deianna Russell, was named by Fairbourne as one of the players that creates the competitive identity that he desires.
“It comes down to having fight and having heart,” Fairbourne said. “But the best part [of Mills] is obviously she is a great pitcher with a solid drop ball. It just builds an atmosphere of expecting to be successful and that’s what we’re trying to achieve here.”
Mills is from Riverside, Calif., where she starred as a pitcher for Martin Luther King, Jr. High School. She took what she called one of her “furthest away and best” scholarship offers and began her college career at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, where she played two seasons. She credits teammate Deianna Russell for being the reason that she ended up at UVU.
“I decided to leave at the end of last season and my former teammate, Deianna Russell, started here her junior year and she liked it a lot,” Mills said “I then got in contact with Coach Fairbourne and this just happened to be the place I wanted to go to next.”
Mills has been playing softball since the age of six. Her soccer coach urged her to stay active by playing softball and she fell in love with the sport. She said that she grew up watching softball on television as well as playing. She acknowledges that her parents played a huge role in her softball career and in helping her get to where she has always wanted to be – playing college softball.
“I knew that this is what I wanted to do,” Mills said. “My parents took me seriously and took me to lessons and gave me all of the opportunities that I needed to fulfill my dreams.”
Mills is posting tremendous numbers in her junior season and first as a Wolverine. She understands how big her role to this team is and she takes that very seriously as she prepares day in and day out to be the best pitcher that she can.
“I take things seriously,” Mills said. “This year I decided to buckle down and make sure that I did what I needed to do to make this team successful. I made sure that I did what I needed to do to stay healthy. I want to be out there for my teammates.”
Mills has similar views as the rest of her teammates. She wants to win. She says that pitching against big-name competition at her previous school has helped give her the confidence to know that she belongs on this team and can help them win. Coach Fairbourne knows this, as well.
“I’m glad she’s here,” Fairbourne said. “She’s helped the program take the direction that we want it to go.”