It can be thrown anywhere you want. The question is, can you throw it in the zone and still make good hitters miss. If they hack out of the zone, no need to bring it down. I like seeing down spin and back spin varied on the low inside black for a strike. Can Osterman throw backspin for a strike? Sure. She was known back in the day for the best female rise on the planet. I'm sure she can throw it in the zone and make hitters miss...if they make her.
2 of the 3 pitchers used in this thread do not throw "backspin" riseballs. It's flat out physically impossible to do based on their mechanics. Finch and Abbott do not possess the mechanics to do this. Both release the ball at the side of their bodies, not in front. Finch does this because her glove hand 'swims' WAYYYYY out to the firstbase side, and Abbott does it because her hips close to fast. In both cases, they cannot get under the ball and are either getting bullet spin or side spin. (Having seen both, they both have more bullet than side spin). Of the 3, Osterman would be the only one who could even attempt throw a backspin pitch as her mechanics are much more sound then the other 2. Having never seen her throw in person, I cannot say for sure if her ball spins correct or not. Based off what I've seen from Abbott/Finch, there is no possible way their pitches spin backward. I have seen Ueno from Japan throw and while she's got very very good mechanics, even she has too much sidespin on the ball. One small 'tweak' in Ueno's mechanics and we'd have a legit example to look at. Does it go up? Yes, when it's angled at an upward trajectory. Does it fool the batter by "not dropping as much"? Ok, if that's the terminology you want to use. But it increasingly amazes me how many people use poor examples in this argument. Yes, I know they are the USA NATIONAL team pitchers and I'm supposed to be in awe. But, facts are facts. Backspin is not occuring in at least 2 of these 3 examples. (by the way, I'm in awe of Finch too but for different reasons!). Sorry, trying to add some levity.
I can't think of a single female pitcher that throws 12 to 6 backspin (and I'm to far removed to remember the guys)----several ladies throw 11 to 5 and have great riseballs.
Adding to Bills comments, I'd suggest Abbott has more of a 10 to 4 spin---lots of curve with some rise action. Tough pitch at 70 MPH.
I'd have to say Finch's riseball is closer to 11 to 5 than it is to 10 to 4. Her's has more rise action and less curve action. Like Abbott, she may be relying more on speed than spin to hold the upward angle.
I would venture to guess tha 95% of the ladies throwing a decent riseball do not grip it like most men do. Men tuck a finger into a seam and get some spring effect from this----not convinced their spin orientation is any better but they may get more RPS (don't have any proof of this yet) combined with more speed definitely gives it more of a rise illusion.
Having said all that, I bet most of us would love to have a daughter that could throw Finches or Abbotts or Cats riseball.
I'm going to go ahead and disagree with you. Here is my arguments:
Based off what I've seen and her mechanics, Finch is not coming anywhere near 11 to 5. Her upper body is being pulled so far off line that she is going far outside her hips with the ball. I would give 11/5 spin as pretty good, males or females. Nobody is going to get 12/6 spin... not when they add in all the twists/turns of the delivery. When throwing 1/2 speed, I can throw 12/6 rotation. Full speed, it's not that! Nor is Mike White, Marty Grant, etc.
Abbott's spin is almost pure bullet. Her thumb goes over the side of the ball, not behind it during delivery. This creates bullet spin, not backspin.
Again, I personally believe that both COULD obtain backspin if they stayed open longer and got the ball THROUGH the hips, not around them. I don't think the issue is in their pitch grip.
I noticed this on another thread and never said anything about it but... what does a finger tuck have to do with anything? I've always felt Grips were irrelevant to pitches, whatever is comfortable. Ty Stofflet, arguably the best ever, didn't use a finger tip. The ball rotation is what is critical, and there are a lot of ways to get the right spin. Same as an overhand curveball... multiple grips for the same pitch. While my hands are big I don't let small hands discourage someone from experimenting with the same grip I do. Instead, I just alter their finger placement on the ball. A small handed person cannot grip the ball in the same exact spots as I can but they can modify it on the seams enough to use the same grip and achieve the same spin. To illustrate my point: When I grip a riseball... I put the Horseshoe of the ball (with the open end toward my palm). I then put my fingertip under the top part of the horseshoe and my thumb under the bottom seam of the horseshoe. However, if teaching someone with smaller hands I would advise they slide their fingers down the horseshoe where the seams become more narrow. They can still use the same grip but are not forced to spread their fingers so wide.
I'm a big proponent of getting the body in a strong position similar to what you are suggesting. But I do believe some pitchers are able to overcome less than desireable body mechanics by altering their wrist/arm pronation.
I'm basing my opinion on having seen and filmed all three of these ladies many times.
Abbott does have some lift to her riseball---yes it does have much more curve. I do believe that her overpowering speed helps with the illusion of her riseball.
Finch has decent lift on her riseball and yes she can and does throw a low riseball sometimes which requires a lot of speed and decent spin orientation.
Cat has better rise action than the other two but is more likely to throw her's just above the strike zone----so it really appears to jump.
The four to five MPH difference between the riseball speeds of these three determines how effectively they can throw this pitch in the zone.
From what I have seen most women throw a riseball with the wrist cupped, they kind of slide the fingers under the ball. This action is not the best for putting true backspin on the ball, it tends to create more bulletspin. For true backspin the best way is to cock the wrist and snap like you would if you were throwing an overhand curveball. I think of a true riseball as an 'upcurve' in terms of release and spin.
Interesting conversation. I'm going to a clinic so my daughter we can work with Finch next month.. After watching Hillhouse in person with my daughter and his Riseball DVD, I can get a better picture of this conversation. Might have trouble only watching her hands though. . No offense Bill . Im sure I will do some taping.
Armwhip brings up a good point about how some pitchers use their wrist. The grip that some of them use is "similar" to that shown on the cover of Ernie Parker's rise video. Now I consider myself to have an ok riseball but even I cannot throw a backspin rise with this grip or by making SLIGHT variations. I need to make several changes to even control the ball. Now, I'm not saying that this grip cannot work! I'm just saying that when I tried to use it, it promoted a flawed wrist action in my own pitching which ruined my spin. I know a lot of girls use this grip (or try to) for their rise. In my opinion, this grip negates the finger action and puts too much wrist into it. When too much wrist is used, the fingers do not turn the right way creating side or bullet spin.... especially when you factor in mechanics where the hips are not cleared by the ball.
Rick, I don't doubt you that both Abbott and Finch could have some 'lift' to their pitches. Anything thrown without downspin will fight against gravity so to speak. Finch should have an easier time throwing a 'low rise' because she gets the sideways sidepin on the ball. Abbott gets too much bullet spin for my taste. I don't know of too many pitchers who can throw a low rise (consistently) with straight backspin. There's too much danger of it going 'up' too much and staying in the middle of the zone. But putting a slight sidespin too it (as Finch's mechanics would do) would possibly add the right mix of both. But, I still don't think she's getting under the ball for a "riseball" by my defintion. And YES, I do realize I'm more picky than most.