Women's College World Series: Facemask just part of the uniform for Kentucky pitcher Kelsey Nunley

Now on the national stage at the Women’s College World Series, Nunley is the perfect example of the movement to protect pitchers in both softball and baseball. And she hopes she can jumpstart the movement.
by Jacob Unruh Published: May 30, 2014


photo - Kentucky pitcher Kelsey Nunley poses for a photo while wearing her face mask during the Women's College World Series media day at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Okla.  Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Kentucky pitcher Kelsey Nunley poses for a photo while wearing her face mask during the Women's College World Series media day at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Kentucky pitcher Kelsey Nunley had little to no time to get out of the way.

A hard-hit line drive off the bat of a DePaul player in the NCAA Regional Tournament hit her on the left side of her face, but it did not even seem to bother her.

That’s because she was wearing a facemask, offering the best possible protection on her face in the situation.

“I’ve never gotten hit in the mask, ever,” Nunley said. “So that was kind of a shock. I was glad I had it.”

Now on the national stage at the Women’s College World Series, Nunley is the perfect example of the movement to protect pitchers in both softball and baseball.

And she hopes she can jumpstart the movement.

“I think it’s important, especially playing college ball because these girls are strong,” the sophomore said. “If they hit the ball just right, it can kill you. If it hits you in the chest, it can really injure you. I think it should become a big thing.”

At a time when head safety is at the forefront of athletic concerns, teams are looking for any way possible to protect players.

Though the Amateur Softball Association and the United States Specialty Sports Association do not have an official rule requiring fielders to wear protective head gear, some coaches are beginning to ask all infielders to wear protective masks.

“We encourage all of infielders to wear facemasks,” York (Neb.) High School coach and town youth sports director Danyel Seevers said. “We’ve seen too many accidents happen and it’s not worth it, so we ask all of our infielders — especially our corners — and pitcher to wear a facemask.”

Some are simply leaving it to the preference of the player and her family, and that’s what many of the coaches at the WCWS rely on.


by Jacob Unruh
Reporter
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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