Pitcher-catcher relationship like sisters
Sisters Kelsie and Brittney keep season alive for UT-Tyler
The pitcher-catcher relationship is one of the most essential elements to a successful team. The two must work together and build a relationship on trust. The catcher needs to have a feel for her pitcher and have the ability to provide reassurance and eliminate doubts.
UT-Tyler’s freshman pitcher Kelsie Batten received All-American honors her first collegiate season and credits it to the close relationship with her catcher, older sister Brittney Batten.
“I definitely feel more confident with her back there,” Kelsie stated, “she knows me better than anyone else.”
Kelsie came into Sunday with a 24-2 record with a 1.47 ERA, 18 complete games, and holding opponents to a .187 batting average. Behind the dish, Brittney has started all 51 games providing a .995 fielding percentage with just one error on the season and catching each pitch from her younger sister in 2013.
“We’ve done this as long as I can remember,” Brittney continued, “Kelsie said she wanted to be a pitcher and we started practicing in the back yard, so we have a high level of trust in each other.”
Kelsie tossed a complete game in this morning’s elimination game against Luther to pick up her 25th win of the season. UT-Tyler is the only team in the nation with two 20-game winners as senior Heather Abshire holds a 20-2 record for the Patriots, keeping Brittney busy working with high-caliber pitchers.
Brittney transferred to UT-Tyler in 2011. In her first season with the Patriots, they made it to the national finals and she used that experience to help prepare her younger sister for this event.
“I told her to just relax and throw the ball like she has been throwing it all year,” Brittney continued. “Keep doing what she is doing, not overthrow or overwork and just trust what she has done her whole life. She has had a great freshman year and has been lights out. ”
In the top of the fourth against Luther, the score was even at 1-1 as the Norse put runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out. Kelsie pitched out of the jam and shut down the Norse the rest of the day, allowing just one hit of the final 13 batters she faced.
“I was glad my defense was behind me,” Kelsie said, “once we started scoring runs I started relaxing a little bit more on the mound and it’s a lot better when you got runs on the scoreboard behind you.”
UT-Tyler lost their opener to Tufts, but won two consecutive elimination games with Kelsie earning a victory in each game.
Two proud parents, Randy and Sherri Batten made the trip to Eau Claire to watch their two daughters play together on the biggest stage for NCAA Division III Softball.
“It’s amazing,” Sherri Batten said. “Words can’t even describe how proud I am of them.”
Randy Batten agreed, “You can’t describe anything like that. It’s just the neatest thing in the world to watch your kids playing.”
The Batten family is not ready to leave Eau Claire Sunday as the Patriots fought off another elimination game and will play the winner of the Montclair State versus Salisbury game later.
The imperative pitcher-catcher relationship can ultimately determine how a season ends for a team. With UT-Tyler’s pitcher-catcher relationship, their season will end in Eau Claire, but they are not ready to leave yet.