Shocker outfielder learns to pitch again
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Wichita State fans were surprised to see a new face out in the circle warming up for the Shocker’s final fall softball game of the season against Northern Oklahoma Enid on Tuesday.
After freshman Bailey Klitzke got injured earlier in the season, head coach Kristi Bredbenner decided to bring in more options for the team and brought up junior outfielder Morgan Palmer to pitch the first two innings.
“We’ve got a couple of injuries,” Bredbenner said. “We definitely need to make sure we’ve got some options out there when it comes to being able to get through the season.”
Palmer is not new to pitching, however. Palmer pitched for her high school in her hometown of Meeker, Oklahoma. She was an All-State pick for pitcher, but when she was recruited to play for Seminole State in Oklahoma, she decided to work on her hitting and become a utility player.
“As I signed to play at Seminole State, I wanted to focus on hitting. So I decided to drop pitching,” Palmer said. “Because when you’re a pitcher, you don’t get to bat a lot.”
During her sophomore year at Seminole State, Palmer pitched an inning against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. She allowed one hit and one walk, as Seminole State lost the game 16-8.
In the Shockers final fall season game against Northern Oklahoma Enid, Palmer allowed one hit in the two innings she pitched.
“It’s not real fair for Morgan to all the sudden throw her in next year if we’re still having some injury issues,” Bredbenner said.
According to Palmer, she was recruited by WSU for her batting and has been a designated hitter for a few games this season. She has contributed six hits in seven games and has collected five RBI’s.
In the fall season, Palmer has appeared in all seven fall exhibition games and has started in four of them, including the Shocker’s game against Seminole State on Oct. 5. At that game, Palmer singled to right-center during the bottom of the second inning to bring in a run. The Shockers beat Seminole State 12-4.
“It was definitely different, but a cool experience,” Palmer said about the game. “Playing against a team where I know the coach was hard because she knows my strengths and weaknesses. But I enjoyed it a lot.”
Tuesday’s game was a change of pace for her with Klitzke out for the last game of the fall season.
“We were in need of a pitcher, so I guess they caught wind that I pitched before,” Palmer said. “I started working with Ryne [Stefankiewicz] and I’ve definitely improved since then.”
With the change, Palmer said it was different but enjoyed getting back to her roots and helped lead the team to a 9-0 victory Tuesday to cap off the Shocker’s undefeated fall season with a 7-0 record.
“It’s been about a year and a half since I’ve seen a live batter,” Palmer said. “It felt good to get back in the circle.”