Dubois' magical run at BU stalled - for now
TORRINGTON - Don’t get Ali Dubois wrong, she loves her family, home and Torrington. But it isn’t really where she expected or wanted to be at this time of the year.
Like the rest of the athletic world, Torrington’s big-time contribution to the college softball world saw most of her season at Boston University taken away by the coronavirus. And also like the rest of the athletic world, putting her passion on an extended pause (she still has a year left) has not been an easy thing.
“It’s definitely been pretty rough,” said Dubois. “We were off to our best start in program history, we were playing so well. I was in a good spot with my pitching. There was no game we were not in except for UCLA (No. 1 in the country) and the pre-conference season is rough. We play some of the toughest teams in the country.”
The Terriers were 14-8 and Dubois had nine of those wins (9-5). The junior hurler posted a 1.44 ERA allowing 18 earned runs in 87.1 innings pitched with 95 strikeouts and 27 walks. Teams were hitting just .205 against her.
Among Dubois’ victories were a number of gems including a complete game three-hitter with six strikeouts in a 2-0 win over Virginia and a five-hit, 11 strikeout effort in a 6-0 win over Georgetown. The Hoyas are coached by former Holy Cross star and UConn All-American Pat Conlan who had nothing but praise for her fellow NVL alumnus.
“BU has an excellent team and it starts on the mound,” said Conlan. “Ali pitched very well against us. She is not overpowering but moves the ball around very well – hits her spots – and her drop ball is lethal. It is hard to stay away from as a hitter. You think it’s in your wheelhouse and it just drops out of the zone.
We had as many strikeouts as we did weak ground balls that day. I saw her do that to many other teams in the tournament that weekend. Ali also has a very confident presence on the mound. She fields her position well and appears to want the ball when the game is on the line.”
Dubois is pleased Conlan noticed the confidence on the mound. To her despite overwhelming success that is something that hasn’t come easy.
“I’ve always struggled with my confidence,” she admitted. “This year I was off to a great start and the team chemistry has helped me with my confidence. They are always talking to me and telling me my presence on the mound gives them confidence. That is why this start was special to me.”
Dubois is in the midst of rewriting the BU record book and becoming one of the greatest pitchers ever out of the NVL and one of Boston University’s all-time greats. She was recently voted as BU’s Female Athlete of the Year and is on USA Softball’s Top 50 “Watch List”. An All-State selection at Torrington, she has taken her game to the highest level of collegiate softball.
In her two-plus seasons at Boston University, Dubois has posted a 60-24 record while leading her team to a pair of conference titles and her honors include two-time Patriot League Pitcher of the Year, two-time Patriot League All-Conference first team and All-Tournament team. She has also earned Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors and two-time NFCA All-Region team.
While the cancellation of the season has left a painful void, Dubois is not twiddling her thumbs looking for things to do. Enrolled in the College of Engineering while majoring in biomedical engineering, she recently just finished up her semester classes in thermodynamics, biomedical measurements, device design and diagnostics, business technology and nutrition. Yeah, I know, her brain is an impressive as her right arm.
As for softball she is getting her work in.
“I have been busier than I expected,” she said. “I work out and I pitch to a net. I’m also running with one of my friends that wants to play basketball in college. I’m doing a lot of training.”
Four or five times a week Dubois heads to her old place of business Torrington High School and pitches to a net. Normally her dad would catch her but he has been busy working on a retirement house in Florida much of the time.
As for the summer, Dubois is not sure. Last year she pitched for the 28-time national champion Stratford Brakettes (formerly Raybestos).
“I’m hoping the Brakettes will have a season,” said Dubois. “It’s hard being a pitcher, you have to find a catcher and there is nothing better than a game with an actual hitter. “
The best thing of all is that Dubois still has a season left. In the meantime she is keeping busy being smart and working on that lethal drop ball that has made her one of college world’s best.