It is rare to find athletes who come to Elon University and reach record-setting heights. Even more rare are athletes that have this talent and come from the same family.
Senior pitcher Caitlin O’Shea tied a softball mark for second place all-time in career saves in a game against Lafayette College March 7. By tying this mark, Caitlin cemented her name next to older sister Erin O’Shea (2009-12) in the program record books. The sisters sit tied at five career saves each.
Not only are the two sisters, but they also spent the 2012 season as teammates at Elon. During the season, the softball team reached the fourth game of the Southern Conference Softball Championship but lost to the College of Charleston.
Erin pitched in the game, ending her career on a loss, but also receiving a few accolades. She left Elon in second place all-time in strikeouts (464), the all-time leader in game appearances (128), and with a SoCon title (2010) under her belt. Caitlin reflected on Erin’s influence on her as a sister and teammate.
“I actually started pitching because Erin was a pitcher, and I wanted to be just like her,” Caitlin said. “When I had the opportunity to come to Elon, I couldn’t pass it up. Playing a collegiate season with her is something I’ll always cherish.”
Erin’s influence made an immediate impact on Caitlin when she arrived to Elon. In her freshman season, Caitlin made 16 appearances — five starts — in which she pitched 38.1 innings and 12 strikeouts with a 4.02 earned run average for the season. In addition, Caitlin recorded her first save with Erin as her teammate.
Caitlin’s older brother Corey was an offensive lineman for the Elon football team (2006-09). Corey was a member of the same Elon football team that was granted the school’s first Football Championship Subdivision playoff berth in 2009 before losing to the University of Richmond.
Since Erin graduated, Caitlin has kept the O’Shea legacy going at Elon. In her four years, Caitlin has pitched a total of 213 innings, recording 56 strikeouts and a 3.38 ERA in her 10 career wins. Just this season, Caitlin has pitched 14.1 innings, only allowing five earned runs contributing to her 2.44 ERA. With two saves this season, O’Shea sits alongside senior Chelsea White, tied for second in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Though their careers posted different statistics, head coach Kathy Bocock described the similarities between the two.
“Caitlin and Erin, although totally different people, have a similar demeanor on the mound,” Bocock said, “They both are composed and handle pressure situations very well.”
In her career at Elon, Caitlin has received other awards, such as SoCon Pitcher of the Week (2014),and was named to the Academic All-SoCon team (2014).
Although inter-family competition isn’t what drove Caitlin to her record-worthy career at Elon, she still has 24 games remaining to become the all-time program leader in saves this season. Caitlin would only need two saves to put her name at the top. Though she is close, records are not Caitlin’s priority in the time she has left.
“My goal for the rest of the season is to play a major role in contributing to a CAA championship,” Caitlin said, “I also hope to leave Elon having upheld the character and work ethic as my brother and sister before me.”