It isn't often that a young pitcher arrives at the next level and completely dominates the competition. An acclimation period of some time is usually required, some amount of adjustment before a player gets comfortable. Yet there was Kelsey Tuthill last week, calmly mowing down Lesley College with a nauseating screwball and a curve that dropped almost as much as the hearts of those trying to hit it.
"I felt pretty untouchable," said Tuthill, a communication sciences and disorders major. "My pitching was on and it felt good."
The one-hit shutout was enough to earn Tuthill her second Great Northeast Athletic Conference pitcher of the week award, and as the Emerson softball team looks towards postseason play, it is upon the young freshman's shoulders that the Lions will rest their hopes for the playoffs.
For Tuthill, shutting down teams is nothing new. After a few years playing for a local youth team, Tuthill started playing competitively at the age of 10 for the Shoreline Sting. Kelsey moved on and reigned over her competition when she played on her summer team, the Connecticut Eliminators for the next eight years.
"At home I saw a lot of the same teams," Tuthill said. "I worked hard and learned how to pitch around batters."
While growing up in Middlefield, Conn., Tuthill and her younger sister Whitney competed against each other to be the best. Perhaps this drove her to work harder and grow into the dominant force that she is. Their competing days have since ended and their relationship has grown into respect.
Tuthill's family remains supportive. They attend her games and stay up on her success.
"I get e-mails from my dad about statistics," said Tuthill chuckling a little. Tuthill doesn't worry about her statistics: she stays focused on her tasks ahead.
For someone who doesn't care about her statistics, Tuthill has some impressive numbers. She has pitched a whopping 88 innings, logging over half the teams innings this season. With a 1.01 ERA and 136 strikeouts out of the team's 182 total, Kelsey proves she is a force to be reckoned with.
"Kelsey right now is a favorite in the league to win pitcher of the year," head coach Phil McElroy said. "She has been consistent since day one. She has done it all year. It is hard to put expectations on kids but when she came, I thought to myself Kelsey could be the difference."
Tuthill has made an appearance in 19 games, with 15 starts and 11 complete games out of the 28 that have been played. She also has the team's only two saves of the season. Tuthill gets out there every game and does her thing.
With the Ying Yang Twins blasting in her ears, she sits in silence waiting to take the mound. She walks onto the field in complete focus, then livens right up as soon as she starts throwing.
"I just go out there when Phil tells me to go," said Tuthill.
The connection between catcher Sierra Wood and Tuthill has been key for the young pitcher.
"We understand each other really well," said Wood, a sophomore screenwriting major. "I know when she has confidence in certain pitches. We just are on the same page with how to throw to hitters. It is nice to have that connection because when you have confidence in them they have confidence in you it makes it that mush easier to be successful. I am really impressed with her she has really stepped up. She is so experienced and composed out there. It is not obvious she is a freshman."
The date of the GNAC tournament is creeping up and Tuthill is eager to take the field with her team.
"I couldn't do anything without them behind me," Tuthill said.
Tuthill is confident in her team and knows they are there to pick up the pieces if she gets knocked off her game.
"I know that the other eight girls on the field are solid," Tuthill said. "Even if I am having an off day and the other team is producing hits, I can rely on our fielding to get the outs."
Tuthill's own success is not what concerns her. She is ready to blow past her competition and get to the championships.
"I am going to step out there and keep pitching," Tuthill said. "As long as we continue winning games I am happy."