Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Freshman pitcher Chloe Barber makes her presence known on the pitch

Kristy Mace
Freshman Chloe Barber catches the candy thrown by Head Coach Kristi Bredbenner after her home run hit on Sept. 16. Barber was one of three home runs hit during the Saturday afternoon game against McLennan.

Before the start of the season, many fans might not have paid attention to Chloe Barber, but with two starting appearances at the Razorback Invitational, the freshman right-handed pitcher has made a name for herself. 

At the Razorback Invitational, she appeared in three games and made two starts, where she managed to strike out 33 hitters in 15 innings. 

She tied the single-game school record with 15 strikeouts against Arkansas on Feb. 23. Within 48 hours, she proceeded to break that school record with 16 strikeouts against Illinois State.

As a first-year player, Barber did not think she would get many opportunities, but getting on to the pitch helped build her confidence.

“To be able to capitalize on those (opportunities) was huge for building confidence … because it helped me realize if I truly throw every pitch with full intention, I can be really good,” Barber said. 

Senior outfielder Addison Barnard, who was recovering from injury in the fall, was surprised when Barber went from pitching 63-65 mph to 68-69 mph. 

“She’s a big presence in the circle, and then all of a sudden, she was hitting 68-69, we were all like, ‘Okay, we’ve never really had this,” Barnard said. 

Barber said she has done better than her initial expectations because of the tough schedule. Six new schools were added to the American Athletic Conference. 

“I think the tough schedule right away was huge to help me, really just be like, ‘Alright, I gotta mature quick,’ and just be able to give my best every day,” Barber said. “We didn’t really have a break in our non-conference schedule, so my big thing was just like each opportunity I get, I’m going to do the best I can.”

Head coach Kristi Bredbenner said Barber is still maturing. 

“She’s still a ways off from really being her best version, and that’s exciting for us,” Bredbenner said. “She’s thrown in some big games and done well at times and then had her struggles this past weekend.”

Bredbenner said the coaching staff and team try to provide support and confidence to the young pitcher.

 “She’s a competitor, and she wants to win … I think young pitchers that have seen a lot of success can also really wear failure in a big way,” Bredbenner said. 

Barber said veteran pitchers on the team often give Barber advice when she has bad pitches, telling her not to let the highs get too high or the lows too low.

“Sometimes, if I have a couple (of) bad pitches, I start to get down on myself in the bullpens, and that really helps me,” Barber said. 

Bredbenner said the best advice she can give Barber is to not let the pressure get to her because every day is a new opportunity to spin the ball. 

Barber said strikeouts and big plays help build momentum during games. It also helps to boost the team’s energy which she thinks translates to the offense. 

“I just got to trust my stuff,” Barber said. “My best has the potential to be better than most people’s best hitting, so (I) just don’t try to do too much at any one pitch.” 

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Melanie Rivera-Cortez
Melanie Rivera-Cortez, Sports Editor
Kristy Mace
Kristy Mace, Photo Editor
Kristy Mace is the photo editor for The Sunflower. She's majoring in psychology. Currently a junior, Mace hopes to go on to get her Ph.D. and become a neuropsychologist. She also plays for Wichita State's bowling team and does professional photography aside from The Sunflower.

Comments (0)

All The Sunflower Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *