PENDLETON, Ind. — PENDLETON — There is really no need to look further than the Pendleton Heights vs. Roncalli softball regional championship game to know what Bailey Benefiel is all about.
The game was played at Roncalli, a team that was ranked No. 1 in the state and a team with a starting pitcher in Kendra Lynch, who had already been snapped up by an NCAA Division I school.
It didn't matter. Benefiel shut them down and lifted the Arabians to the semistate. For that reason and multitude of others, Benefiel is the 2013 THB Softball Pitcher of the Year.
"It was an exciting game," said Benefiel. "The entire team was up and ready for that game."
"I didn't see anybody better this year," said PH coach Rob Davis. "We played some pretty good teams, but she can compete with anybody."
Even though she's not the typical power pitcher, blowing the pitch by hitter after hitter, she still averaged 9.8 strikeouts per 7 innings.
"She's a strikeout pitcher," said Davis. "The rise ball is her go-to pitch. But when the hitters know that and then lay off it, she has a great curve and she can get them with that."
"I can throw a lot of pitches," said Benefiel. "If I get ahead in the count, that's important. I can usually get them to swing at bad pitches."
She didn't throw many bad ones, averaging just one walk every four innings with a 1.09 ERA and a 16-4 record.
"Our goal is to not fall behind in the count," said Davis. "We try to work ahead. She could get that fast ball for a first pitch strike. When she's on you can still hear that pop in the mitt."