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Women's College World Series: Pitchers have tricks up their sleeves to get out of jams

Most will have one pitch they’ll always go to, while some might go to a variety of pitches depending on the day and the hitter.
by Trent Shadid Published: June 2, 2014
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Hawkins, who went 35-6 with a 1.66 earned run average, used her riseball wisely on her way to shattering the Oregon single-season strikeouts record with 330.

“I’m not a person that’s too cocky, but when that pitch is working I have a lot of confidence with what I can do.”

Kelsey Stevens, Oklahoma

Out pitch: The full repertoire

Changeup, curveball, fastball, screwball, riseball, or dropball — it doesn’t matter for Oklahoma sophomore Kelsey Stevens.

“I can go to almost any of them,” Stevens said. “I like curve, rise, and change a lot, but it just depends. It depends on the batter, really. Obviously, if it’s a right-hander I’ll go with the curve for an out pitch and for a lefty probably the screwball. But I’m pretty confident in my changeup, too.”

The unpredictability helped Stevens set a school record for wins in a season while going 38-9 as the primary starter for the Sooners.

“I think there’s some pitchers you can say, ‘Oh, you know this is her pitch,’ so she’s going to go to it,” Stevens said. “I don’t feel like you can really say that with me. It definitely helps.”

Christina Hamilton, Louisiana-Lafayette

Out pitch: Dropball

She might be best known for her lense-free Ray Bans glasses, but it’s the development of her dropball that has turned Louisiana-Lafayette’s Christina Hamilton into one of softball’s top pitchers.

“I’ve been more a riseball pitcher my whole life,” Hamilton said. “Just recently, this year, I got a dropball. It has changed my game a lot, because I’m not working on just one plane now. I get to work on two different planes.”

The junior, who went 29-4 this season, isn’t even sure how she managed to finally master the dropball.

“I throw it just like a fastball,” Hamilton said. “Seriously, that’s not a joke. I’ve been trying to throw a dropball, and could never get it. Then I’ll throw a fastball and it drops. It kind of falls off the table a little bit and it kind of tails out. I don’t even know how that happens.”

by Trent Shadid
Copy Editor
Trent Shadid is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Weatherford, Okla., and attended Weatherford High School. Before joining The Oklahoman, he spent two seasons as an assistant wrestling coach at Weatherford High...
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