essica Dreswick thinks she sounds like a basic white chick.
“I used to say like all the time and now it’s definitely,” she said. “I feel like a basic white chick, like ‘DEFINITELY! Definitely …’ see I can’t be serious for too long, that was going down a serious route and I had—”
You’ll have to count how many times she says definitely on your own, but if you look beyond the likes and definitely’s—there aren’t as quite as many as she claims, even though it’s time basic white chicks got some media coverage anyway—what you will find is one of the best college softball players in the country.
Wait, not just one of the best college softball players in the country, one of the best softball players in the country even though she pitched the entire season with a stress fracture in her right foot.
That’s right. She played softball on one foot. For a whole year. How did that year go?
In 2017, Dreswick was at the top of her game. She set school records in starts with 39 and wins with 22, while also leading Boston College softball in total appearances with 45, innings pitched with 235, and strikeouts with 166.
Let’s take a breath for a second—there’s more to go through.
Dreswick threw 18 complete games last season, two of which were shutouts, surrendering a measly 89 earned runs on the entire season. She set career bests in ERA (2.65), wins, appearances, starts, strikeouts, and tied her career best in saves with three.
In a development surprising to nobody, she made All-ACC first team, which came after throwing BC’s second no-hitter in team history against North Carolina State in 2016—the first since the Eagles joined the ACC. On top of all that, she was doing it all on one foot—one good foot, that is.
With each pitch she threw, the senior could feel the crack in her foot getting worse, and by the end of the season the bone had snapped completely. But regardless of the severity of the injury, she was not going to let it get in the way of her taking the field.
“I came to [BC to] play, and I wasn’t about to allow a foot injury keep me from playing,” Dreswick said.
In a sense, as she laughs through some of her description of what it was like to fight through her experience, how she approached her injury is the best example of how Dreswick approaches her life. She doesn’t take things too seriously, she sees obstacles as an opportunity rather than a bane, and she approaches those obstacles with a good—but intense—attitude.
“I came to [BC to] play, and I wasn’t about to allow a foot injury keep me from playing.” Jessica Dreswick
nsurprisingly, the knock never dissuaded her from taking the ball. To Dreswick, her innings count was never under any threat from how hurt she was. Being out on the field and achieving her goals was too important to her.
“A lot of last year was [head coach Ashley Obrest] going, ‘Hey, can you go again?’ Absolutely, let’s see what I can do,” she said. “It is funny, because people will say to me, ‘Hey, you pitched 200 innings last year,’ and it still wasn’t enough for me. There’s a lot of times where I think I could’ve done better, I think I could’ve stayed in, I bet I could’ve thrown another game against this team, or we could’ve gone farther in postseason.”
After going 31-22 last season and putting up a 14-9 conference record, BC softball entered the postseason with high hopes, but Notre Dame defeated the Eagles in three out of the season’s final four games, closing the series with a win in the quarterfinals of the ACC championship that brought the BC season to a close.
Dreswick surrendered a home run with two outs in the seventh inning to the Fighting Irish. The bomb tied the game up, sending it to extra innings, where BC ultimately fell, 9-5.
“That one kind of stings a little bit because everyone was like ‘You worked really hard last year for your team,’ but that game I just feel like I completely let down my team,” she said.
She pitched seven and a third before the Irish chased her in the eighth—the Eagles came up just short, and the loss left Dreswick motivated to reach a new level of excellence. As successful as 2017 was, the senior and her teammates had gotten a whiff of what further success could look like and came up short. Now, all any of them have been thinking about in the off-season is getting better in order to make a prolonged tournament run in an attempt to avoid a repeat of this past year.
hus, Dreswick went to work in the off-season. She worked on spin and her breaking pitches, understanding that the best teams in the country see the speed at which she throws in plenty of opposing pitchers, so the senior decided working on her movement was the key to increased success this season. She completely recovered from her foot injury and concentrated on perfecting her off-season routines to ensure a good start to this season.
“I think about that weekend all the time,” Dreswick said. “All summer when I was on crutches, all fall when I would pitch, and I just think about how I need to be better to beat that team.”
Yet, she isn’t taking things too seriously as her time on the Heights begins to wind down.
“I definitely want to enjoy this year, so not freak out, not put a ton of pressure on myself only to flush it … I’ve really told myself that no matter what happens, to just really be really grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given the last four years and just to take this last year … I’ve got nothing to lose,” she said.
If you had told Dreswick 10 years ago that she’d be one of the best pitchers in the ACC, she would’ve been extremely confused because she wasn’t even playing softball at the time. Her entire family played sports, both her brothers played sports, and Dreswick played baseball until she was 13.
“Eventually I switched to softball, and I remember I was horrible,” she said.
Dreswick played volleyball, basketball, and softball through middle school, and as she started high school, she began pitching. It was a late transition to the circle from playing first base and catcher. Dreswick played high school ball in New Jersey through her junior year before departing for Montverde Academy in Florida, a prep school that boasts graduates Joel Embiid, Francisco Lindor, D’Angelo Russell, and Ben Simmons.
The athletic excellence surrounding her took Dreswick to another level.
“It was just one of those places where everyone was really competitive, hard-working, and motivated, and you just kind of joined along with it,” she said.
"I’ve really told myself that no matter what happens, to just really be really grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given the last four years and just to take this last year … I’ve got nothing to lose.” Jessica Dreswick
reswick cites her family as her inspiration. Her father was a lefty pitcher, her brothers all played baseball, and her early commitment to the smaller round ball with seams comes from her closest relatives. She admits her family, whether it’s her dad or her aunts and uncles or any other member of her extended family, can be very critical, but serve as her biggest and most important supporters. Without them, she doesn’t believe she’d be at BC.
She also draws motivation from those who doubted her in the past who have not been as supportive.
Throughout her high school career, various people claimed she would never get to a D1 school, never mind play ACC softball.
“People are like, ‘Oh you’re going to Boston College? Well, Florida State is ahead of you,’ or UNC or whatever, and we just see it as a challenge,” she said. “You want to say we can’t compete in the ACC? No. Watch us.”
When Dreswick reflects further on 2017, she’s struck by how much of a team effort it was.
“The 235 innings didn’t come just from me on the mound, it was every single inning I had a defense behind me and an offense to score runs,” she said. “It was not about me in that sense whatsoever, I didn’t even realize the innings were racking up.”
The senior thinks this year will just be a continuation of the progress the team made last year. BC doesn’t take non-conference play as an opportunity to play lower level teams, so the early portion of the season has brought a lot of difficult matchups. The Eagles have gone up against the likes of No. 6 Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Indiana, and Michigan State.
Personally, Dreswick is off to an excellent start. Currently boasting a 2.33 ERA, the 6-foot-2 righty has a 4-3 record with nine starts and three relief appearances. She’s pitched four complete games, notched two shutouts—already matching her total from last year—earned a save, and already has 57 innings under her belt. In just a month, she’s had more strikeouts than she had her entire freshman season.
A lot has changed in four years. Nobody knows about that better than her fellow captain, Chloe Sharabba.
“These last 4 years with her have been awesome,” Sharabba said in an email. “It’s been so fun to watch and be a part of. Dres has grown and learned so much since our freshman year, her competitive drive is unmatched, and I’ve always felt so confident out there with her on mound. We always feel like we have a good shot to win, but with her out there, it just feels like our chances go up that much higher. Off the field, she’s become one of my closest friends. Dres, Ally [Frei], and I have a lot of fun together and I’d say I’m pretty lucky to be on the field and playing with two of the best pitchers in the ACC.”
How close have the three captains grown? Close enough that Dreswick and Sharabba teamed up to play an April Fools prank on Obrest. The two, using glue and makeup, made it look like Dreswick had shaved off one of Sharraba’s eyebrows. The success the three have had hasn’t diluted how happy they are just to get to play with each other, but Dreswick is intensely aware of how much she’s changed over the course of her college career.
“I am an extremely different person than I was my freshman year,” she said. “Still just as weird, but I think it’s just trusting myself and being okay and believing in yourself. My freshman year I saw every challenge as just this overwhelming obstacle, and I saw the pressures around me just adding to that, and I saw it all as just an impossible feat.”
reswick believes the biggest lesson she’s learned from Obrest is to take a challenge and turn it into an opportunity.
Now more than ever, the senior is ready to seize that opportunity. To Dreswick, 235 innings was just the beginning. One hundred percent healthy and back in the circle, the senior captain has one more season to prove she is a pitcher to be reckoned with, thanks to her speed, her break, her personality, and all she’s learned during her college career.
Against Central Connecticut on Feb. 25, Dreswick threw a complete game, struck out 11, and gave up just four hits. Another day, another win, another dominant performance. The New Jersey native could very well eclipse 250 innings this year, who knows? One thing’s for sure: She won’t be counting—after all, she’s already cemented her legacy on the mound.
Featured Image Celine Lim / Heights Staff