SPRINGFIELD, Mo–The Drury softball Panthers will open up Great Lakes Valley Conference post season play Thursday night in Illinois.
It’s been a record setting season for Drury.
And one big reason stands 6-foot-2 in the center circle, junior pitcher Kristina Bettis.
Kristina Bettis loves numbers.
Some of her favorites:
22-her number of wins this season.
16-the number of strikeouts she had against UMSL.
And zero-the number of hits she gave up against Rockhurst.
“This season has been really, really good. A lot of my success has come from my defense along with the catcher. And a lot of my numbers come from them,” said Bettis.
The Illinois native is modest.
The success also comes from her right arm.
Bettis is the first Drury pitcher to win 22 games in a season.
And she helped the Panthers to 35 wins, the most in program history.
“What she’s done is incredible, it’s really phenominal. It’s obviously what we needed at Drury to elevate the program. She’s the most dominate pitcher I think that I’ve seen in my career,” said Drury coach Jerry Breaux.
That’s saying something, Breaux has been coaching softball in the Ozarks for close to three decades.
And says the winning equation has been Bettis’ combination of a rise ball and a change up.
Breaux:”She’s a hard throwing pitcher. She has a rise ball. That’s her money pitch. It’s a killer pitch in softball.”
Bettis:”I actually got it in college. I didn’t always have it. It’s one of those pitches you feel confident in. It’s more of a pitch you have to rely on the hitters because it’s not really a strike anyway.”
Bettis and her catcher Gracie Thomas set up the hitter, then get them to bite on the rise ball.
“I call KB’s pitches. Most of the time we’re on the same wave length. I can’t tell you the last time she’s ever shook me off,” said Thomas.
When Bettis arrived at Drury from Jefferson junior college she had a secret.
She had surgery on her pitching elbow to move a nerve.
That relieved some pain, and sharpened her pitching.
Bettis:”I feel like I have better spin on it because I no longer have arm pain. I would say surgery did help it.”
9-her number of shutouts this season.
1-point-25-her earned run average.
Zero-the number of NCAA tournaments for Drury.
Kristina Bettis hopes to change that this month.
And when all the pitching is finished, Bettis will calculate these numbers into a career.
Bettis:”Math education. I want to teach middle school math and hopefully coach. That’s my plan. My sister is a high school math teacher. And my mn’s an accountant. So it goes in the family.”