2011 Sneak Peek - Pitchers and Catchers

Feb. 7, 2011


With the departure of graduated senior Sarah Vertelka last year, the Kansas softball bullpen lost a third of its production from the pitcher’s circle. Head coach Megan Smith added some much needed depth at pitcher for 2011 with the addition of three talented newcomers to support returners Allie Clark and Alex Jones.

Junior transfer Ashley Spencer along with freshmen Kristin Martinez and Colleen Hohman will round out the five-person bullpen.

Clark, a senior right-handed hurler, is KU’s top returning pitcher whose experience will be called upon to help lead KU’s young pitching staff. After seeing limited time from the circle in 2009, Clark stepped up last season tossing a team-high 145.0 innings in 2010 and collecting the most wins from the circle with eight, while leading the team with 72 strikeouts. Clark also excelled in the batter’s box racking up a team-high six home runs and batting in 20 runs.

A sophomore right-handed pitcher, Jones will once again split time at pitcher and outfielder. Jones made a team-high 23 starts from the circle last season and led KU with a 3.78 ERA. Like Clark, Jones was also an important offensive weapon serving as the team’s leadoff batter where she collected a team-high 55 hits and 12 stolen bases.

Following a successful stint at Cowley County Community College, Spencer (Weir, Kan.) will add quality college experience to the Kansas bullpen. While at Cowley County CC, Spencer Earned all-America second team honors both seasons and helped the Tigers to their sixth-straight Jayhawk East Conference championship in 2010. In 2009, Cowley County CC earned a top 10 national ranking and Spencer was named the Jayhawk East Conference MVP after posting a 24-1 record with a 1.20 earned run average.

Martinez and Hohman come to KU after promising high school careers. Martinez comes from O’Connell College Preparatory in Texas City, Texas, where she was a two-time all-state selection and a district MVP her senior season. As a junior, Martinez compiled a 0.54 ERA in leading O’Connell to the state championship. Hohman was a three-time all-conference selection at Neuqua Valley in Naperville, Ill., and earned an all-state honorable mention and conference pitcher of the year in 2009 after posting a 16-6 record and 0.68 ERA.

At the backstop, Kansas will once again rely heavily on senior catcher Brittany Hile. Last season Hile started all 56 games at catcher where she caught 22 base runners stealing and picked off another five players on base. Offensively, Hile collected a team-high 25 RBIs on 33 hits and was 5-for-10 in bases loaded situations.

Backing up Hile at the catcher position will be junior Leah Daiber and freshman Kendra Cullum, who will see the majority of her playing time at first base.