Transfer pitcher tears up batters, builds up relationships


Daniel Brenner

Second-year pitcher Ilissa Hamilton has performed exceptionally well on the mound for the softball team with a 3.30 ERA.

“Strike, you’re out!”

Another batter retired, another strikeout recorded for second-year pitcher Ilissa Hamilton. As she stands atop the mound, Hamilton reads the batter and takes advice from her catcher for the next pitch. Every throw matters for Hamilton, as she whizzes fastballs passed batters and catches them off-balance with her nasty changeups.

A transfer from Division I Drexel University, Hamilton has surely impressed the Case Western Reserve University softball team. Through 104 innings pitched, she holds an extremely respectable 3.30 ERA and 115 strikeouts while also slashing a .275 batting average. Coming in from Drexel, though, Hamilton did not know quite what to expect.

One of my biggest fears when I started the transfer process was that the team would see me as an outsider,” Hamilton said. “After my first week with the team, I knew I made the right decision. These girls took me under their wings and gave me a home.”

One defining game of Hamilton’s softball career came this year while playing at Emory and Henry College during the team’s first game of the season. She remembers every single player fighting “tooth and nail” for the win. The game solidified a sense of unity between Hamilton and the team going forward.

In part due to her transfer, Hamilton is yet to become involved on campus outside athletics, but is looking forward to doing so in the near future. Back at Drexel, she was involved with the Society of Women Engineers, a group she also has interest in at CWRU. Additionally, the dominant pitcher appreciates research within the biomedical engineering department.

Hamilton took the biomedical engineering track due to her strong science and math interests in high school. As a child, she recalled always wanting to be a doctor, combining the facets she excelled in along with a passion for the medical field. In addition to the field suiting her academically, Hamilton noted her love for helping others as another reason for this choice.

“I hope to use my degree to really make a difference in medical care,” she said. “One project that I am very passionate about is making fully functional prosthesis affordable to all, especially our veterans.”

As evident by helping others, Hamilton is all about making others feel loved and cared for.

She referenced a friend’s mother who recently passed away from brain cancer, saying, “‘Build up, folks!’”

According to Hamilton, the phrase reminds her to build people up, not bring them down. It is important to motivate others, and Hamilton hopes to carry this quote on in memory of her friend’s mother.