One of the Rock Bridge Bruins’ softball team’s main issues is a lack of pitching.
Fortunately, junior Kelsey Oerly is up for the task.
If Rock Bridge is playing, chances are good that Oerly will be pitching. She has pitched in all but one game this season. And she has bailed out the Bruins repeatedly this year by going extra innings and pitching through jams.
“She handles pressure very well,” coach Jennifer Mast said. “She takes it one game at a time, but she has to. She’s our only pitcher right now.”
Oerly lost 4-3 Tuesday night to Moberly in a complete-game effort, but things could have been worse. She consistently forced Moberly to leave runners stranded on base. Mast was thankful her ace kept the Bruins in the game.
“Kelsey pitched very well,” Mast said. “She fell behind hitters, but came beck several times.”
Oerly coming from behind hitters isn’t a new sight for the Bruins’ coach. She doesn’t focus on one hitter at a time. She concentrates on one pitch at a time, and she has a specific way of doing that.
“I walk to the back of the mound after every pitch just to clear my head,” Oerly said. “I’m just back there concentrating on the next pitch.”
Oerly’s ability to erase the past from her thoughts has proven to be very beneficial to her success this season. Last week, she faced Jefferson City and was roughed up for a lopsided loss. The next night, she came back and fought for a tough victory against St. Theresa’s.
“It’s a big deal coming back from a loss like that,” Mast said. “The next day she got a win for us in a close game.”
Although Oerly has seen a couple of struggles this year, the successes have been more abundant. And she is quick to give credit elsewhere for those successes. She praises her teammates for their help.
“My teammates are always encouraging me from the dugout,” Oerly said. “It helps to know they always are backing me up.”
They aren’t the only ones making noise while Oerly is on the mound. One voice stands out to her while she pitches.
“My dad gives me so much encouragement during the game.” Oerly said. “He shouts out advice to me from behind the plate.”
Oerly also gives her dad credit for her being able to rebound from any struggles she may occur.
“I always ask myself how I can fix things,” Oerly said. “My dad helps me out with that. We practice and work on certain things at home.”