She looks at the batter through her glove thinking about whether to throw a fastball or a change-up. Her catcher decides otherwise.
She has got it and winds up for the pitch. The batter grounds out to first base.
Senior Katherine Kibbe has pitched her 19th complete game of the season and the La Verne softball team heads to the final game of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament at Campus West with a 5-1 win over the Whittier Poets May 7.
However, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas stopped the Leopards’ run and without an automatic bid from the NCAA Selection Committee, they have officially ended their season.
The team finished with a 31-11 overall record and 25-3 in SCIAC play.
After four years with her green and white jersey stamped with the number three on the back, it was time to trade it in for a black cap and gown.
“This was the best way we could have possibly ended it. It certainly isn’t the way we wanted to go out because we did want to win the tournament and go further, but this was more than anything we could have asked for,” Kibbe said.
Despite its ups and downs, she gives credit to a program that brought her closer to the game and people she calls her best friends.
“Like any program its had its waves of inconsistency because it changes every year with new teammates and coaches,” Kibbe said. “Overall, it has been pretty awesome. I’ve grown a lot and made a lot of close friends, especially Lyndsay (Godwin) and Mackenzie (Dutton) and its been awesome having them by my side the whole time.”
Senior pitcher Lyndsay Godwin was along for the ride with Kibbe and said she is one of her best friends on and off the field.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better way to go out with her by my side and Kenz,” Godwin said. “Katy is an outstanding leader and shows it on the field while pitching and hitting and she is just amazing.”
This season, Kibbe finished with a 21-6 record and struck out batters left-and-right with 114 strikeouts and a 1.84 ERA.
At the plate, she gave the defense a run for it, hitting at .352 with five home runs and 25 RBIs.
Kibbe earned the 2016 SCIAC Athlete of the Year and was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Second Team All-West Region.
She was also named to the First Team All-SCIAC in 2013 and 2015.
“It’s nice to win the awards and stuff, but you know you can’t do it without your team,” Kibbe said. “If my team hadn’t been as good as they were, I wouldn’t have won the awards that I did, so I’m super thankful for them.”
During her collegiate career, she had 263 overall strikeouts with an overall 2.62 ERA and a 48-21 record.
She has hit 15 home runs and 89 RBIs with a .349 ERA.
“She was a great leader on the field and always inspired the underclassmen to push themselves harder,” junior first baseman Alexis Schiff said.
“She, along with the other seniors, are the reason we did so well. Katy never settled for less nd never stopped working at anything.”
At the age of 5, growing up in Sonoma, Kibbe and her brother played tee ball alongside their dad, who was a pitcher throughout his life. Her mom also loved the game, so it was a family affair.
She started pitching at 8 years old and fell in love with it since and pitched from elementary to high school.
“I love it because I get to be a part of every play,” Kibbe said. “I have the ability to have a major affect on the game and I like that responsibility.”
For two years, she played in the Rohnert Park Girls Softball Association and then started to play on a travel ball team she and five other girls and their dads started.
Then at Rancho Cotate High School she was back on the mound doing what she does and loves.
During her senior year, she earned multiple awards, including North Bay League MVP, All North Coast Section and Scholar Athlete.
Her talent was recognized by then pitching coach Rose Rodgers when she was playing in tournaments near the La Verne area.
Rodgers invited Kibbe to tour the University of La Verne campus, who loved the program and loved the school, bringing her talents here.
What made it even greater to be at La Verne was the friendships she was able to gain with a team she will not forget.
“She’s such a great friend. She’s the first person I met at La Verne and she has always been there for me when I need it,” Schiff said. “Katy’s a great person.”
Softball has been engraved into Kibbe’s everyday lifestyle and is one the things she has put so much time and effort into.
“I always expect myself to be the best,” she said. “So to be recognized for it and feel like I’ve lived up to what I am capable of is awesome.”
Though since it is over, she is not certain of what her future holds and has not decided if she wants to get into human resources or marketing. The dream job for her would be working in the sports industry in Southern California, but she knows it is a tough area to get into.
“It would be awesome to work in public relations or the marketing department of the sports franchise,” Kibbe said. “I would love to work down here, but it would probably be with the Angels because I’d never work for the Dodgers.”
As a fellow Giants fan, Godwin agrees with Kibbe to never work with the Dodgers.
She also adds that Kibbe has held a large role on the team and anyone could turn to her for advice, whether it was softball related or just life in general, she would be there.
Kibbe will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration this month.
As of right now, the only thing on her mind is getting through her last set of finals with coffee in one hand and the thought of graduation in the other but will certainly miss the friends by her side.
When she is not at AT&T Park enjoying a win by the San Francisco Giants or watching Steph Curry and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors rain threes at Oracle Arena, you can find her at Campus West getting some swings or pitches in against the La Verne baseball team or near barbs hanging with her friends.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.