Selman finding control and confidence in the circle

IN THE STRETCH Baylor senior RHP Kelsee Selman winds up for a pitch against McNeese State on Feb. 13, 2016, in Waco. Baylor lost the game 3-1. Selman transferred from LSU and made her Baylor debut last season. Photo credit: Penelope Shirey

By Nathan Keil | Sports Writer

The 2017 softball season is young-one weekend tournament deep to be exact. But despite the new season, senior pitcher Kelsee Selman is already beginning to find her groove in the circle for head coach Glenn Moore and the Lady Bears.

The LSU transfer appeared in three games in the Hillenbrand Invitational last weekend, starting two of them. She finished 1-1 with a 1.85 earned run average, tossed one complete game shutout and allowed three earned runs on just nine hits all weekend.

Her lone loss was to No. 10 Arizona. Her one real mistake was a ball left out over the plate against Wildcats’ senior third baseman Katiyana Mauga. The ball found its’ way to the seats in the left center field in the bottom half of the fourth inning. Other than this mistake and scattered hits here and there, Selman was able to keep the Wildcats’ potent offense in check.

Moore said he was extremely impressed with Selman over the weekend and her ability to battle against great competition.

“Kelsee had a great weekend,” Moore said. “Very happy that she gave us a chance to win that [Arizona] ball game. We measured her against the top teams, so that kind of sent the message of what kind of confidence we had in her.”

The number that won’t jump off the stat sheet but just might be the most important to her is zero, representing the number of walks she posted last weekend. For Selman, control has been her biggest obstacle since coming to Baylor. She allowed 36 walks in 48 1/3 innings pitched in 2016.

For Selman, it wasn’t a mechanical issue or any discomfort in the circle. It was more of a mental block.

“I struggled with my control last year,” Selman said. “My mindset this year is to go at them, give them strikes and give them something to hit. My big thing has been just to work on my control and just go out at the hitters.”

Moore said Selman’s effort against Arizona and her approach in the circle, including her ability to throw strikes, was pivotal in giving them a chance to win against the strongest competition.

“We pitched her against the strongest lineup that we saw against Arizona,” Moore said. “Last year she struggled a little bit with control, but she didn’t walk a batter. She didn’t have a ton of strikeouts either but gave us a chance to win the ball game.”

Selman’s composure and competitive edge stuck out to her teammates last weekend. Sophomore outfielder Kyla Walker said the team is extremely confident with her in the circle and that her arsenal is good enough to get anybody out.

“We’re very confident with her,” Walker said. “She came out in Arizona and only gave up a couple of hits. She kept us in the game long enough. We’re really confident in what she can do. She spins the ball really well and keeps in low in the zone or high enough where they can’t touch it.”

Moore said he was unsure whether Selman or sophomore pitcher Gia Rodoni would get the start on Thursday against the University of Texas San Antonio, but he said Selman would get a lot of work this coming weekend.

Even though she won’t be facing an offense quite like Arizona’s, Selman insists that her mindset will be the same, and it all starts with control.

“My big focus now is just to throw strikes,” Selman said.

Selman and the Lady Bears return to action starting at 6 p.m. Thursday against UTSA in the 16th Annual Getterman Classic.