Westmoreland Alumni Q&A with Jane Garver

The former Ligonier Valley softball standout is a top pitcher for Robert Morris

Thu May 04, 2023 - 10:31AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers
Ligonier Valley's Jane Garver is 6-3 with a 3.00 ERA in her junior season at Robert Morris.Ligonier Valley's Jane Garver is 6-3 with a 3.00 ERA in her junior season at Robert Morris.

Last Updated: Thu May 04, 2023 - 7:32PM

Jane Garver was a highly successful pitcher during her first three seasons at Ligonier Valley. Although COVID wiped away a potentially special senior campaign for Garver, she’s picked up right where she left off with Robert Morris University. In the midst of her best collegiate season, Garver is in the spotlight for this edition of the Westmoreland Alum Q&A.

As a freshman at Ligonier Valley in 2017, Garver helped the team achieve a mark of 20-4, including a perfect record in the Heritage Conference. In the District 6 postseason, the Rams ousted Cambria Heights and Central (Martinsburg), but fell to Philipsburg-Osceola in the D6 Class 3A Championship. In the PIAA bracket, LV lost to Ellwood City in the first round to conclude the season.

The next year, the Rams again fell to Philipsburg-Osceola in the D6 postseason bracket.

In Garver’s junior campaign in 2019, the Rams compiled a record of 17-3, including an unblemished mark in the Heritage Conference. In the District 6 playoffs, Ligonier Valley bounced Central (Martinsburg), but came up short against Chestnut Ridge.

The 2020 campaign was cancelled as a result of COVID, marking the end of Garver’s time at Ligonier Valley. During her three seasons on the field, however, she compiled an ERA of 1.68, as well as a batting average of .356.

Garver joined Robert Morris University as a pitcher for the 2021 campaign, and appeared in 20 games, including 10 starts. In that action, she went 2-2 with one save and an ERA of 4.13 in 56 innings. The Colonials compiled a record of 25-19 overall, including 20-14 in the Horizon League. In the conference tournament, RMU fell to Youngstown State and Oakland to end the season.

Last year, Garver carved out a role as a starting pitcher, as 14 of her 17 appearances came as starts. In 70.1 innings, she went 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA. The Colonials improved to 31-21, including 16-9 in the Horizon. The Colonials opened the Horizon League Tournament with a loss to Green Bay, but rebounded with wins against Youngstown State, Green Bay, Cleveland State, and Northern Kentucky before losing to Oakland in the title game.

Garver has taken another step this year as a junior, as she’s gone 6-3 with one save and an ERA of 3.00 in 72.1 innings of work. To this point, RMU is 21-21 overall, including 11-8 in the Horizon. This marks the final week of the regular season before the Colonials commence the conference tournament.

As her season winds down, Jane took time from her schedule to answer questions about her biggest areas of improvement at RMU, how she handled the cancellation of her senior year at Ligonier Valley, and what she’d do if she woke up with $1 million.

Q: How have you evaluated your performance this season thus far?

A: I think I have been able to elevate my performance this season thus far by altering my mindset going into each game. I have been battling a torn hip labrum this season and due to this, I had to tell myself that my best that day is my best and that is all I can ask of myself. This has really helped me mentally be able to accept that some days may not be what I want them to be due to my hip, but I have to be able to control what I can control and be the best I can be.

Q: What have been your biggest areas of improvement throughout your time at Robert Morris?

A: Throughout my time at RMU, I would say my biggest areas of improvement have been my mental game, as well as my leadership development. In my freshman year, I found my inner competitor and a side to myself that I had never seen before. I found a fire and hunger inside of myself, and this really helped me find my identity as an athlete, as well as a leader. I did a lot of closing my freshman year and got through a lot of adversity that I did not know I could get through, and I think this really helped me become the person I am now.

Q: What pitches do you throw, and which do you consider your best?

A: I throw a fastball, curveball, backdoor curveball, off-speed, and a rise ball. My best pitch depends on the day and the team I am facing, but in general, I think my best pitch is either my rise ball or my backdoor curveball.

Q: What team and individual goals did you set for this season?

A: For myself, I set out a goal to develop as a leader, as well as contribute to the pitching staff in whatever capacity possible and to do it to the best of my ability. Another goal of mine was to be an every-weekend starter in conference play, but at the end of the day, I just want to win and I will play whatever role is best in order for my team to win. As a team, we set a goal to first of all win the Horizon League regular season and then win the Horizon League tournament, as well.

Q: There are a bevy of Western Pennsylvania natives on the roster. Which of your current teammates did you know before coming to Robert Morris?

A: In one way or another, I either knew of, knew personally, played with, or played against pretty much every Western PA girl on the team. I grew up pitching to Bailee Bertani at my lessons, played against a lot of the girls in high school ball, and played with some of the girls on different travel teams growing up like Jess Matheny and Faith Miller.

Q: What led to your decision to attend RMU?

A: I chose Robert Morris because I wanted to go to a school that valued Western PA girls, as well as one that I knew I could thrive at and make an impact on as soon as I got to campus. RMU is also on the smaller side for a college, and I grew up in a very small town and in a very small high school, so I wanted to stick to what I was used to, which was knowing the people around me and knowing my professors personally.

Q: What is your major and ideal future profession?

A: I am majoring in organizational leadership with a minor in sports management. My goal is to stay in the softball world in some capacity, whether it be coaching collegiately, running my own training facility, or maybe working for a larger organization like PGF or Triple Crown.

Q: Aside from softball, what has been your favorite aspect of college?

A: My favorite aspect of college has been being able to get out of my small town and experience what it's like to live closer to a city. I do have to say though, small-town Ligonier will always have my heart.

Q: Your senior year at Ligonier Valley was cancelled because of COVID. How did you handle that?

A: Having my senior season canceled was extremely difficult. Nothing is worse than having a feeling of "what if" for the rest of your life, or the feeling of having unfinished business that you will never be able to finish.

Q: What was your fondest memory during your time at Ligonier Valley?

A: My fondest memory during my time at Ligonier Valley would have to be playing in the District 6 championship at Penn State during my freshman year. Even though we lost, that atmosphere was unmatched.

Q: What was your reaction to the Rams joining the WPIAL?

A: When I heard that Ligonier was moving to the WPIAL, my first thought was "Why couldn't they have done this when I was still in school", and my second thought immediately after was "This is a great move for all of Ligonier Valley". The competition and the overall coverage and support are amazing, and I will always wish I had the opportunity to compete for a WPIAL championship.

Q: If you could pitch against anyone past or present for one at-bat, who would you choose? What would be the result?

A: If I could pitch against one person from my past, it would have to be the entire Philipsburg-Osceola lineup from either my freshman year or my sophomore year. They beat me by one run every time we played them and I would love some revenge, with plenty of strikeouts.

Q: What song or type of music gets you in the right mindset before a game?

A: Funny enough, I listen to a lot of country music before games. Country music is my absolute favorite. However, I do listen to my pitching walk-out song before every game as the last song I listen to. The song is family ties by Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar.

Q: If you woke up tomorrow with $1 million, what is the first thing you'd do?

A: If I woke up with $1 million, the very first thing I would do is buy land in Ligonier to build a house on, and the next thing I would do is donate the rest to RMU softball so we could get a new softball facility.