Softball: Multifaceted Brynn Kibler doing it all for Olentangy Braves

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Senior pitcher Brynn Kibler has led Olentangy this season at the plate and in the circle. She was batting .468 through 15 games with 22 hits in 47 at-bats. She also was 2-3 in eight starts with 27 strikeouts and 10 walks.

Brynn Kibler has been playing softball since elementary school, and once she began pitching, it didn’t take her long to figure out her personality in the circle — even if that went against what many pitchers might want to be.

“Growing up I really never was the fast pitcher, so I started working mostly on my spins and I feel like that’s really helped me. I don’t dominate hitters, but I get them to pop up and ground out. That’s how I do my job,” Kibler said. “I feel like the goal of a lot of pitchers when they start is to be that strikeout pitcher. But when you face the really good hitters we see all the time, you just have to find a way to get them out. You can’t just think about striking them out every time because that’s when they’re going to get hits off you.”

Not only has Kibler been one of Olentangy’s top pitchers, she also started the year as the Braves’ top hitter.

The senior was batting .468 through 15 games with 22 hits in 47 at-bats and in the circle was 2-3 in eight starts with 27 strikeouts and 10 walks.

Olentangy was 4-11 overall before playing Reynoldsburg on April 23 and 1-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Marysville on April 26.

Coach Alan Tharp compared Kibler to 2018 graduate Sophie Low, who as a senior was the team’s starting pitcher in its run to a Division I regional final. Kibler was a freshman on that team and saw occasional time, moving between varsity and junior varsity.

“(Kibler) is a pitcher who will throw strikes and keep the ball down. She’ll get groundballs and we just have to play good defense behind her,” Tharp said. “She’s a lot like Sophie. She keeps the ball down and we have to back her up. Seeing-eye singles will find the outfield sometimes. That will happen, but she won’t overpower people.”

Kibler became the Braves’ top pitcher as a sophomore and played center field when she wasn’t in the circle. This season, she moved to second base and is splitting innings with junior and Walsh commit Jaelyn Peterson.

Kibler began this season hitting fifth or sixth in the order, a period in which Tharp said she was batting better than .600. That necessitated a move to leadoff, swapping spots with freshman outfielder Caleigh Peterson.

“Brynn has just continued to hit,” Tharp said. “She’s a good mentor for the younger girls. When things happen on the field, she’s there to talk to them. That’s what you expect out of your leaders. She’ll get on them, too. Sometimes she gets testy but they’re all sisters.”

This is the final season of organized softball for Kibler, who plans to attend Cincinnati to major in business and minor in real estate.

“I just want to do everything I can to help the team,” she said. “If they have bad games, I just have to show them it’s going to be OK the next day.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave