The No. 21 jersey of former Sacramento State right-handed pitcher Joanne English will be retired this Saturday.
English becomes the third Sac State softball player to have her number retired in program history, joining Susie Bugliarello (No. 17 in 2005) and Lindy Winkler (No. 3 in 2014). From 1978 to 1981, English posted a 117-49 career record while being a two-time first team All-American and winning Division II National Softball Player of the Year in 1981.
“It’s exciting,” English said after Sac State softball coach Lori Perez made the announcement at the 50-year softball reunion on Jan. 21. “I was totally shocked.”
English was the starting pitcher for former Sac State coach E.J. McConkie. She coached the Hornets for 12 seasons (1975-86) and helped helm two deep runs in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women Division II softball tournament in 1980 and 1981 with English on the roster.
“She was always upbeat — never a problem on the team and got along with everyone,” McConkie said.
Sac State was host to the AIAW Tournament in 1980 during English’s junior season when the Hornets placed third overall in the nation.
“Hosting the tournament and finishing in third place in 1980 was good practice for us,” English said.
English set a single-season record with 27 wins in 294 innings pitched in her senior season, and helped lead the Hornets to the 1981 AIAW Championship game against C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University. English tossed a complete game and struck out the last batter to win the first national championship in Sac State softball history.
“We’ve had a history of great pitchers and Joanne English is right there on the top of the list,” Perez said.
During the 1981 championship run, English posted a 7-0 postseason record while throwing three complete games and finishing with a 0.43 ERA.
English was known for changing her jersey number on a consistent basis to coincide with her age each season — except for her freshman year (1978), when she wore No. 27. English went on to choose 19 (1979), 20 (1980) and 21 in 1981.
Sac State chose the No. 21 jersey to be retired since it coincided with English’s final season and the year of the national championship victory.
“We were excited to announce that we were going to retire her jersey, so coming up this weekend we’re expecting a lot of alumni back here in the stands,” Perez said.
The retirement ceremony will take place between the first (noon) and second game (2 p.m.) of the Hornets’ doubleheader against the Montana Grizzlies at Shea Stadium.
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