Central Oklahoma's Schrock is in the zone with eyes on a championship
SALEM, Va. -– No one should wonder how Central Oklahoma pitcher Kalynn Schrock – a relative newcomer to the Bronchos’ program – has earned the support of her teammates once hearing what she has to say about them.
In the Bronchos’ opener at the 2013 NCAA Division II Softball Championships – a 5-2 win against Armstrong Atlantic – Schrock threw a 2-hitter and struck out 15 along the way.
So what did she consider the key to Central Oklahoma’s win?
Mostly, it had to do with her defensive support, and the ability of the Bronchos to put at least five runs on the scoreboard for the fifth consecutive game.
“We’ve been doing real good [all around], so I just have to give it to my offense,” Schrock said, who takes a 31-6 record into Friday afternoon’s winners’ bracket game with Molloy College. They’re making it easy for me out there.”
Comments like that draw a slight eye-roll from Central Oklahoma coach Genny Stidham, as well as a response.
“This has been a trend – I’ll speak for her on her behalf,” Stidham said after Thursday’s game. “She’s been lights-out since we got to regionals.”
The Bronchos (48-11) have recovered nicely from what they considered to be a sub-par effort three weeks ago in their conference tournament, where they were knocked out with a 1-2 record.
Central Oklahoma breezed through its subregional, which included two big wins against Mid-American Intercollegiate rival Fort Hays State. And the Bronchos never trailed in their two-game sweep of Winona State in last week’s super regional.
And while the offense has been great, Stidham is not ready to credit all of the recent success to those players handling the bats. She wants to talk about Schrock.
“She has consistently been a competitor, and she is hard to beat,” Stidham said. “If she keeps throwing like she did [Thursday], she is very hard to beat.”
In the last six games, Schrock has struck out 55 batters – and average of 9.2 per game – and has an ERA of 1.22.
As far as mid-career moves go, this is one that has worked out for both parties. Schrock, a junior from Choctaw, Okla., spent the last three seasons at Division I Tulsa. She had a promising start as a true freshman in 2010, going 10-5 with a 2.60 ERA in 27 games.
But after redshirting in 2011, Schrock’s time on the mound diminished. She pitched in just 20 games and chose to transfer after the season.
Central Oklahoma turned out to be a good place to land. She has already broken the school’s season records for innings pitched (244 2/3 and counting), wins (31) and strikeouts (287).
On Thursday, other than a two-run home run by Armstrong’s Shelby Duff in the tourney opener, Schrock did not give the Pirates many opportunities at the plate.
“When you strike out 15 times, that’s a lot of outs to get nothing out of,” Armstrong coach Ted Evans said. “Their pitcher was very good [Thursday].”
Schrock underplayed her performance. She said she wasn’t sure what to expect since the Central Oklahoma-Armstrong game was the first game of the tournament. But it didn’t take long to get comfortable.
“Once I got loose – pretty much everything [was working],” she said. “My rise ball was working really well [Thursday], so I kept going back to that. … They just kept going for the high stuff.”