She hasn’t been on campus very long, but South Carolina senior pitcher Donnie Gobourne is making a name for herself. After transferring to South Carolina from Florida Atlantic University for her final year of eligibility, Gobourne wanted to test herself at the highest level of college softball, and she is doing just that. She is among the SEC leaders in strikeouts and was recently selected as the 17th overall pick by the Oklahoma City Spark in the 2023 Women’s Professional Fastpitch draft.
“I was at the Gamecock Gala, and my athletic trainer texted me,” Gobourne said. “She sent me the draft picture. I noticed I had a missed phone call, and it was from a number out of Oklahoma City. Then they called again, and I didn’t know what to do, so I got up and stepped out and talked to the coaches. I was excited, and they told me how excited they were to have me on the team.”
Gobourne became the first South Carolina softball player to be professionally drafted since Samie Garcia in 2013 by the NY/NJ Comets of the former National Pro Fastpitch league. The hard throwing righthander has been making history for the Gamecocks all season. She currently ranks fifth in the SEC in strikeouts and is among the national leaders in strikeouts per seven innings. Her star rose considerably on April 2 when she helped the Gamecocks clinch a series win over nationally ranked Florida with a spectacular complete game one-hit shutout of the Gators in game three. She struck out 15 batters in the win and had a no-hitter going with two outs in the seventh inning before surrendering the lone hit of the day. It was the first 15-strikeout game for a South Carolina pitcher since 2007.
“I just want to keep doing the same thing, remain humble along the way and continue to make history for our softball program.”
Prior to arriving at South Carolina, Gobourne spent her free time last summer working at McDonald’s. She said that playing professional softball wasn’t always on her radar.
“Before I got here, I didn’t think I would be able to, but now that I’m here, I see that it’s good that I came!” Gobourne said. “Having a pitching coach here has really helped. (Head) Coach Bev (Smith) and I are in the bullpen, day in and day out, making sure that I have my mechanics right. Getting my mechanics right has helped my speed jump by about five miles per hour. That was huge.”
While she looks forward to the opportunity to play professional softball after the 2023 season is over with the Gamecocks, she’s not in hurry for her final college season to end and has unfinished business with the Garnet and Black.
“Personally, I just want to keep doing the same thing, remain humble along the way and continue to make history for our softball program,” Gobourne said. “For our team, I want for us to show all the other SEC teams what we are capable of and maybe make them change their thoughts about us being underdogs.”
While this is her final year of eligibility with the Gamecocks, Gobourne will stay in school next year to earn her degree in coaching education and graduate next spring. She plans on being a graduate assistant coach and perhaps stay in coaching for a few years before pursuing a career in the criminal justice field.
“I’m thinking about doing juvenile counseling right now,” Gobourne said. “Where I’m from there are a lot of athletes who have the same athletic abilities, but they make one wrong move and they’re in the system. I want to try and help younger kids before they get in the system.”
Another chance to make history.