Heading into Wednesday’s softball doubleheader against the University of Arkansas-Monticello Cotton Blossoms at University Field, Moore was DSU’s leader in batting average and RBIs playing primarily first base and right field. In recent days when Moore hasn’t been at first base, she has been firing strikes with her left arm in the pitching circle.
In the second game of DSU’s with the Cotton Blossoms, Moore got the start and gave up three runs, one earned, on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts in five innings of work to earn the victory in DSU’s 6-3 win. The win pushed Moore’s record 2-0. In five games pitched this season, she has given up 16 hits with five walks and six strikeouts in 16.1 innings of work and has an impressive 1.10 ERA.
Even with a 1-for-7 performance in both games against UAM, Moore still has team highs in batting average (.382), RBIs (42), slugging percentage (.520) and hits (58). Moore will still be counted on heavily to play in the field when she’s not pitching. Moore’s production has helped DSU win eight of its last 12 games and push its overall record to 22-22. The 22 wins are already two more than what the team had last year.
Delta State head softball coach Casey Charles said she decided to try Moore out at pitcher to help lighten the work load on the other pitchers.
“We just used her Sunday against SAU (Southern Arkansas University),” Charles said. “The idea has been to use her in some non-conference games to give the three main starters some rest. We’ve played four days and seven games, and the last 12 games will be in an 11-day period. We’re trying to give our pitchers some rest. We don’t have four or five, six or eight pitchers. We have three and we have Kaitlin. That’s it. We put her in Sunday, and she got the win. She’ll get the win today.”
The first game Moore pitched this season, she threw six innings of relief and gave up one run on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts against Cameron on Feb. 1. She pitched another two-thirds of an inning against Saint Joseph on Feb. 8. In the last two and a half weeks, she pitched in three games including Wednesday, which was her first start of the year. In her outing against Southern Arkansas on Sunday, she pitched four scoreless innings and gave up just three hits to earn a win for the Lady Statesmen in their 7-4 triumph over SAU.
Moore’s success has been due to her location and the movement on her pitches.
Moore said pitching hasn’t put any extra stress on her.
“I’m pretty relaxed,” Moore said. “Coach has kind of had me in relief, but today was actually a shock, coming in and pitching five innings. It’s just a matter of staying relaxed and overcoming any obstacle that comes my way.”
The 19-year-old who is a graduate of DeSoto Central High School from Southaven, said in crunch time, the support of her teammates has played a huge part in success on the circle.
“The pressure situations comes to down to trust in my infielders, outfielder, my teammates being there behind my back. I know what ever situation comes, they’ll be there to back me up.”
Moore added trying to switch focus from hitting to pitching has been an adjustment.
“It’s a challenge,” Moore said. “When I come in from pitching, I tell myself ‘okay focus, go bat, you can do this.’ I soon as I come in after hitting, I’m like “okay, go pitch and focus.”
Charles said Moore’s recent success has proven she can be a valuable asset in the circle when needed.
“She’s getting it done,” Charles said. “I like how it gives a break to the others, but she’s won two of her last appearances. What are you going to do? You’ve got to keep throwing her.”