Kirsten Pelletier ’20 has been one of the most talented softball players on campus since she arrived in the fall of 2016. She has pitched in nearly every game (66 of 86) that she possibly could have, leading the Bobcats to two consecutive NESCAC Tournament appearances. She has had a very impressive career already, breaking Bates records for innings pitched in a season, career shutouts, and strikeouts in a season.
She is also well on her way to shattering records for career innings pitched, appearances, games started, and career wins. Well, now she can add to that list because on Sunday she became the all-time Bates leader for career strikeouts, passing Kelsey Freedman’s previous record of 335. Pelletier now sits at 340 and counting with at least two more games left to play this season and an entire senior year ahead of her.
“It’s really exciting to see my hard work in the offseason pay off, but I think it’s more exciting to see and be a part of the rise of this program,” Pelletier remarked. “The strikeout record is great and something I’m really proud of but I couldn’t do it without my teammates, and I know we’re all focused on Friday’s NESCAC playoff game against Williams.”
Pelletier, with the help of her classmates, has done a terrific job bringing success back to the softball program. The Bates softball team hadn’t seen a winning season since 2012 and had not made an appearance in the NESCAC Tournament since 2009. Those both changed last season when the Bobcats finished 20-14 on the year and earned a berth in the conference tournament once again.
In game one on Sunday against Trinity, Pelletier fanned eight over the course of nine innings en route to a 5-4 victory in walk off fashion over the Bantams. This was the 10th time this season that Pelletier struck out 7 or more batters, and the 24th time in her career. The stats speak for themselves, but the Bobcats are hoping for a better end to the season than last year’s 8-0 loss to Amherst in the NESCAC Quarterfinals. After a matchup with Maine-Farmington on Wednesday, they’ll head to Tufts on Friday to take on Williams in the Quarterfinals of this year’s NESCAC Tournament.
The Bates Student does not have access to any of the softball archived schedules from before the year 2000, but since then this is the first time the Bates softball team has made back-to-back appearances in the NESCAC Tournament. It’s also the first time since then that they have had a class that was playing in their second career NESCAC Tournament. This means that for the first time, the Bobcats have some real experience heading into the postseason. They’ve been under the bright lights once before, now this time they’ll look to do some damage. Keep an eye on the results from Medford this weekend.