Bertelsen’s unique pitching style adored by teammates, loathed by opponents

Since she was in elementary school, Southern Illinois softball pitcher Katie Bertelsen has had a unique approach before she throws. 

When she was in the third grade, Bertelsen’s dad told her yelling before each pitch would make her throw harder. Since then screaming during her release, has just become second nature.

“It just comes out,” said Bertlesen with a smile. “I don’t know how to explain it. I’m so used to doing it so often, that as soon as I pitch, it just comes out.”

In high school, Bertelsen used the scream to her advantage– striking out over 1,600 batters, which is still an Illinois state record. Now, the junior pitcher doesn’t surprise many on the college level with her delivery, but opposing dugouts have been known to make fun of it.

“You may hear them mock her or do something,” said SIU softball coach Kerri Blaylock. “I just always sit there and smile and say let’s see what happens in the game.”

“A lot of them get frustrated with it, and a lot of them get annoyed,” Bertelsen admits. “I just ignore it, I don’t even hear anybody out in the circle, so I don’t let it affect me.”

Bertelsen says she’s tried pitching without the scream a couple of times, but it just doesn’t work. And her teammates are more than okay with that.

“Bertie wouldn’t be Bertie without her scream,” said senior catcher Allie VadeBoncouer. “I think that it’s just a characteristic that’s very interesting, and we all love her for it.”

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