Bogado Finds a Home in IU
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Sit down and watch a game today. Networks will dazzle you with camera angles. Impress you with sounds and stats, but that is not what it is all about. The game is simple, yet complicated. The game has no language. Through signs, fingers, hand signals and cap removals, strategies are put in place. A pitch is called. The inning goes on.
For Indiana junior Mariangee Bogado, this is what the game is to her. The softball right-handed hurler is ready to lead the Hoosiers into the 2005 season and, with the schedule the Cream and Crimson have in place, pitching will be a major factor in how the season plays for the IU softball team.
"I love to pitch. I love taking the ball and going out there knowing the game is in my hands," said Bogado. "To me that is all I ever wanted to do."
She started playing baseball at the age of three. Her parents played both baseball and softball and taught her at a young age to love the game. All that happened in her native land of Mariana, Venezuela.
Eventually, Bogado found her way onto the Venezuelan National Team, competing in the tough atmospheres of the Central American, Pan-American and the South American games. She helped lead the national team to a gold medal in the Central American games in 2002, as well as a fourth place finish in the Pan-Am games.
"We did a lot of traveling all around, and I was able to play some great competition," said Bogado. "I then wanted to come to America to play and get an education."
From her play on the team, she was scouted by a number of American schools, but IU had the inside connection. Former Indiana assistant coach Mickey Dean was one of her coaches on the national team, but grades forced her to settle at St. Thomas University, an NAIA school in Georgia. At St. Thomas, Bogado became a first team NAIA All-American in 2003. She started 27 games leading the team with a 1.10 ERA and an 18-8 record. She tossed a team-high 179 2/3 innings recording 214 strikeouts. When she wasn't in the circle, Bogado enjoyed success at the plate ending the year at .353 in 184 at bats, with three home runs, 16 doubles and 44 runs scored.
"I always looked on the internet when I was in Georgia and I knew I wanted to play in the Big Ten," said Bogado. "When I had the chance to come here, I looked at Indiana online and I knew my place was here."
On the field is where Bogado felt at home, but off the field, she had to endure the change of the language and culture.
"In the beginning it was very hard. I knew just the basics of the English language," said Bogado. "The language is still kind of hard for me, but I feel like I am improving everyday, and I have developed into the culture here."
Bogado was successful in the classroom too, earning the credits she needed so she could transfer to Indiana. She proved to be a great addition to the squad quickly becoming the top pitcher on the team in 2004. She would go on to make 43 appearances with 34 starts posting a 16-15 record with four saves and a 1.63 ERA. She compiled a team-high 198 2/3 innings allowing just 138 hits, while striking 207 batters against 67 walks. Her 207 punchouts were fifth most in a single season in IU history, as she led a 2004 pitching staff that posted 404 combined strikeouts, the second highest total in school history. She also proved she could hit Division I pitching too, finishing at .262 with three home runs, 19 RBI and 15 runs scored.
Despite those numbers, Bogado says she would rather pitch then hit. She also believes that she has made improvements in her control from a year ago.
"I like to have all the pressure on me so I can take control, and I feel that pitching allows me to have that control," said Bogado. "I have worked hard in the offseason on my command. My goal this year is to cut down on my walks as well as improve on my strikeouts."
"On the right day she can be just dominating," said first-year head coach Stacey Phillips. "She also has that aura in the circle that she wants the ball, and that she will always pick-up her teammates if things aren't going well."
Bogado has accomplished all this with her family always on her side, supporting her, but to this date, they still are waiting to see her pitch in America.
"I am trying to save up money as well as my family to come and see me during my senior year," said Bogado. "I want them to come see me pitch as well as be there for my graduation. That is a big dream for me and my parents."
Bogado still goes back to visit her family in the summer in Venezuela, and when she arrives everyone wants her to talk about the American experience.
"Everyone just huddles around me and wants me to talk about everything I see here. They are always asking me about America and the friends that I have made, and about the weather, mainly about it being cold and snowy."
The Big Ten is one of the toughest conferences in the country, but Bogado feels that playing the great competition she endured on the national team helped her adapt quickly to the level of play in the conference.
"The Big Ten is very difficult and very hard. On the national team, I played against some of the best players from other countries, including a lot of older people, so I think playing at that level prepared me to step right in and play in the Big Ten."
Indiana will be one of the youngest teams in the conference in 2005, featuring just six upperclassmen and two seniors. That does not scare Bogado, who thinks this team can advance to the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 1997.
"We have a lot of talent, especially with our pitchers. If we go out there and play and come together as a team, we will make the Big Ten Tournament and from there, anything can happen."
That "anything" refers to the unpredictable Big Ten Tournament which saw Michigan State, a seven seed in the eight-team tournament a year ago, make a run and win the championship gaining the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament
Bogado and the Hoosiers open the 2005 season with a trip to Las Vegas to participate in the Alexis Resort Classic. The Cream and Crimson will face Cal-State Northridge in their season opener on Friday, Feb. 4. IU will also square off against Marshall, UNLV, Utah State and UTEP in the weekend tournament.
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