Softball’s Aughinbaugh Ready for Final Ride in Maroon and White



Fordham ace Madie Aughinbaugh has had a stellar career at Rose Hill and wants to end it on a high note. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

The ball explodes off the bat, and the pitch thumps the mitt, reverberating throughout Lombardi Center on a Monday afternoon in November.

It is the middle of the offseason for Fordham Softball and Bahoshy Field practices are an afterthought as the winter wind gusts through the Rose Hill Campus.
Despite that, senior captain, pitcher and outfielder Madie Aughinbaugh does not rest.

Even with three Atlantic 10 titles in three years, and the addition of Pitcher of the Year to her iconic resumé last season, if she is not working, someone else could be.
“I need to do better because UMass or George Washington might be doing this,” Aughinbaugh said. “I’m going to do it better.”

The Port Tobacco, Maryland native is top 10 in program history in starts, complete games, wins, innings, strikeouts and career Earned Run Average.

Aughinbaugh will graduate as one of the best players to sport the maroon and white across any sport, but never satisfied is an understatement.

“We’ve had the title for so many years,” Aughinbaugh said, referring to sharing it with George Washington last season. “Just the fact that we had to share it for a year doesn’t sit well with any of us, so it’s more motivation to come back harder and better than ever.”

The two-way threat recorded a 2.44 ERA over 38 appearances and 33 starts last year, with 25 complete games, two saves and one shutout. She hit a team-high .354 and went 11-2 with a 1.77 ERA over 15 conference appearances when her team needed it most.

Auhginbaugh credits her father, Rob, for molding her work ethic.

“I would not be allowed in the house until I did a certain amount of things,” Aughinbaugh said. “If we were playing catch, I would need to hit him five times in the chest (and not stop until I did it).”

Former college softball standouts Monica Abbott (Tennessee) and Cat Osterman (Texas) have been role models since childhood, when she would watch them in the Women’s College World Series.

Arizona State legend Megan Elliott resonates on a personal level, also hailing from a small town in Maryland and training Aughinbaugh throughout her youth.
“It was really fun working with her,” Aughinbaugh said. “She was the first to come out of my town and make it to a power five, so she was kind of a big icon for me and motivational in the sense that I could come out of a small town and compete on the highest level.”

Aughinbaugh was recruited by power five teams, and did not know Fordham existed until former head coach Bridget Orchard came calling.

“I instantly fell in love with it,” Aughinbaugh said. “The day I came they did an intrasquad, which are very boring and tedious when you’ve been in college for a while, but it looked like it was gameday for them, and that’s an environment I wanted to be a part of.

Every offseason, she goes through previous highlights to spark motivation and the right frame of mind for the coming season.

Winning the A-10 title at home in 2018 represents her top moment in a Fordham uniform, and she believes last year would have topped it if the weather had cooperated for the championship game.

“She worked for it and deserved it and carried us quite a bit,” head coach Melissa Inouye said, crediting Aughinbaugh for playing injured at various points of the season. “She’s a never-satisfied kind of kid, and that’s what makes her competitive and successful because of the standard she holds herself to.”

With a perfect resumé entering her swan song season, there is little upwards mobility for an outsider to point to.

“She’s the person you look to in the biggest moments,” junior outfielder Kelly Bright said. “Her passion and tenacity is inspiring and truly embodies what the Fordham Softball legacy is all about.”

Aughinbaugh said she never looks at statistics and calls them distracting. She rarely even talks while she is playing, keeping everything competitive and simple. When she is home, she loves spending time around animals and shelters, citing a bond with her grandmother.

“I’m happy she got Pitcher of the Year,” Inouye said. “We want to push for a super regional.”

All of her teammates strive for that level of excellence, so verbal communication is rarely necessary to make sure everyone is focused.

“I’m more so a leader through action,” Aughinbaugh said. “My teammates feed off of energy, and I’m a better captain when I don’t talk and lead by example.”

The two-time A-10 Tournament Most Outstanding Player hopes to become a coach when she graduates and pass it down to softball’s next generation.

Maintaining a championship standard can be more difficult than building one. When Aughinbaugh graduates this coming spring, her teammates will have the lofty task of keeping the Rams atop the mountain.

“It’s always the most fun to be the best at what you’re doing,” Aughinbaugh said. “Work hard at it and you can accomplish anything.”