Bethel’s Kayla Simacek leads nation in strikeouts

Bethel’s Kayla Simacek leads nation in strikeouts


What sounds like fists hitting a punching bag, is actually a softball being zipped in from Bethel’s Kayla Simacek. She leads all Division III pitchers in strikeouts this season.

“Sometimes we have to do a good job making sure our defense is paying attention,” Bethel head coach Penny Foore told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS sports reporter Alec Ausmus. “One game I think she had 16 strikeouts, so that’s not a lot of plays for the defense to make.”

Simacek carries the workload on the mound. In 29 starts, she has fanned 275 batters this season. Her strikeout to walk ration is 19 to one.

“It’s mostly, what do I need to do to get this girl struckout. How can I have the most fun doing it?” Simacek says.

“We tease her a little bit that she is like Gumby because she is so flecxible in her shoulders and her wrists,” Foore says. “It’s like she’s double-jointed in her shoulders, elbows and wrists. Her spin is what makes her elite.”

The Royals may only go as far as Simacek’s arm takes them. Last year that was to the NCAA Super Regionals. It was the best season in program history and they want to top it this year.

“A lot time when I play, I’m just there to have fun and I can really do that with this team. There’s a lot less stress on my back and I know everybody is playing their role,” Simacek says.

Kayla’s role is creating that punching bag sound while she punches out hitters.

Bethel has won 17 straight games and are a perfect 16-0 in MIAC games this season.