Adekale Ande, Campus Carrier Asst. Sports Editor
With 44 strikeouts, two no-hitters, 1.40 ERA and two SAA pitcher of the week awards all in the span of two weeks – Kassie Howard is piling up the stat sheet this season. The sophomore pitcher from Alpharetta is leaving her mark on Berry’s softball program with each and every pitch.
“Kassie is a true competitor,” head coach Cori Thiermann said. “She is a great teammate who just goes out every single day and does her job. You ask her to run through a brick wall and she will.”
Howard has a strong work ethic and knows how to make adjustments quickly, Thiermann said. Not only did Howard throw the first no-hitter in Berry’s Division III softball era, but she also broke Berry’s strikeout record with 14 strikeouts in a game against Hendrix College. Howard held the previous record as a freshman.
On Feb. 20, Howard threw a no-hitter against Sewanee, and then threw another one against Hendrix only two starts later.
“I was really happy,” Howard said. “I was also happy that my defense was behind me and they made really great plays, so I was proud of them.”
Howard has helped lead Berry to a 24-6 record and a 10-2 record in SAA conference play. She has pitched 108.1 innings and has a 1.23 ERA with 142 strikeouts in 21 appearances so far this season.
“My favorite pitch to throw is my rise ball, because it moves the most, and it gets the most batters to chase the pitch and pop-up,” Howard said.
Howard can be seen leading the singing of “Sweet Caroline” on the bus ride to away games, and has been known to form a big dance circle with her teammates before games and start freestyle rap, but once she steps on the mound, a switch flips and she is a completely different person.
“Kassie is a great teammate,” freshman catcher Kayla Sangrey said. “She gets really focused once she is on the mound. There’s not really any stopping her once she gets going, so catching for her is really fun because she is always on top of things.”