By LARRY VAUGHT
Senior Erin Rethlake came into the season as Kentucky’s most experienced pitcher after going 10-5 with a 1.95 ERA in 25 games last year. She’s 6-3 with a 3.41 ERA in 14 games this year and has 47 strikeouts in 53 innings.
She’s been a big influence on true freshmen Grace Baalman and Division II transfer Autumn Humes, a sophomore, this season.
“They are obviously both phenomenal,” Rethlake said. “It has been so fun to watch them grow since they got here this fall. For me, since I get to play behind them (at first base), too, I am always just helping them any way I can. If their confidence gets shaken I am always there to build them up as much as I can.”
Kentucky coach Rachel Lawson knows how valuable that confidence boost/advice from Rethlake can be for her young pitchers, especially during SEC play.
“Erin has been awesome. Some things she has worked really hard on the last year or year and a half is becoming a great leader. She is very selfless now,” Lawson said. “She always wants to be out there on the mound and on the field, but she is somebody that can give them a lot of confidence.
“She also has a lot of confidence in them and knows at any point she can go back to first base and they can come in and pitch or on the flip side she can come in and help them out when they are in a tight situation on the mound. So I think our staff is really starting to come together and I give Erin a lot of credit for that.”