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ArlingtonCommentary: Calling her own pitches

Commentary: Calling her own pitches

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The way it usually works in high-school baseball and softball, is the pitcher gets the sign for which type of pitch to throw from the catcher, who often initially gets that signal relayed from a coach.

This season, things are working differently for the Bishop O’Connell High School girls softball team when ace pitcher and junior right-hander Katie Kutz is on the mound. That’s because the hard-throwing talented hurler is being allowed and trusted to call her own pitches.

“Katie asked if she could try calling her own pitches this season and we said OK,” O’Connell head coach Suzy Willemssen said. “And that has been working well.”

Before each pitch, Kutz quickly signals to her catcher with fingers on her right hand which type of pitch she will throw. Sometimes she will point one finger toward the ground, then other times  two, three or four.


It’s actually easy to pick up the signals that way, so the signs probably have to be changed each inning or so during the course of a contest.

Kutz, who already has committed to play in college at Oklahoma State University, began this week without a loss on the mound for the Knights and averaging more than 10 strikeouts per game.

Good for Willemssen for having the flexibility and trust to give up such control. Most high-school baseball and softball head coaches would never consider doing such a thing. That’s because they want to have total control of a game, with the biggest mainstay in that regard being calling every pitch.

Sometimes during older-age summer ball, pitchers and catchers are more often permitted to call their own games. In high school, almost never.

One benefit of a pitcher calling their own signals is that can significantly speed the pace of play – always a good thing in softball or baseball.

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