Bringin’ the heat

Deanna Stevens

Junior hopes to pitch her way to a MAC championship


Credit: Carl Schierhorn

After a week of shattering personal and school records, Kent State softball starting pitcher Brittney Robinson is looking to use her skills to lead the team to a Mid-American Conference Championship.

On Monday, the junior integrated health science major was named MAC East Division Pitcher of the Week for the third time this season. Leading her to the title was breaking her own single season strikeout record (193), as well as becoming the first Kent State pitcher to have more than 200 strikeouts in a season.

She also threw her third no-hitter this season, which is the fourth in her career and another record for Kent State.

The new records came against Central Michigan over the weekend. The sweep left her 4-0 in MAC play, and 13-9 overall.

Robinson said that breaking records inspires her to improve even more. Her goal is to have 300 strikeouts this season, currently she has 215. But helping the team win is most important.

“I just want to lead the team,” Robinson said. “And do what ever I can do to help us get a MAC championship, because we deserve it.”

Kent State coach Karen Linder said that Robinson has improved her confidence, strength, speed and her ability to pin-point her pitches. Those improvements have solidified her role as a leader on the team.

“As a pitcher, you have the ability to set the tone of the game while on the mound,” Linder said. “And she leads by being able to shut the other team down. She’s a leader by example, this year especially in her mental toughness.”

Robinson also said that she likes to lead by example and added that the team “feeds off” intensity, while her knowledge of the hitters has helped her increase her accuracy.

She said the encouragement of Linder and the rest of her teammates, no matter how well or badly she plays, have also been vital to her success.

That support has given her the confidence to trust herself “to just throw and not aim” she said.

Robinson has been playing softball since she was six years old. She said she began to play because all of her friends were playing. She said that she was exposed to the sport at a young age by her father, who was also a pitcher.

“He was my mentor, my father and my coach,” she said.

Robinson said she decided to join the Flashes because she liked the coaches, teammates and the location, which is only about an hour away from her hometown of LaGrange.

Robinson began her Kent State career as a designated player, which allowed her to play several positions on the team. She pitched about one-third of the games she played as a freshman.

Although well-known for her pitching, Robinson is also productive on the other side of the mound. Over the weekend, she batted .400 with three runs scored and three RBIs, she has a .467 batting average overall.

However, she said she doesn’t mind keeping that aspect of her game low-key.

“Actually, I wouldn’t mind keeping that a secret,” she joked. “I definitely want people to notice that I’m pitching and I’m the one that they are going to have to face today.”

Robinson and the Flashes (14-18, 4-3 MAC) face the Ohio Bobcats (20-22, 4-4 MAC) in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. today in Athens. Kent State will follow up with back-to-back games, at 1 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday, at Akron (17-15, 6-2 MAC). Both the Bobcats and the Zips are ahead of the Flashes in MAC East standings.

Linder said it would be great to win three or four games during the trip, but the standings are not a major issue right now because of the “parody” in the league.

There is a little more incentive to beat Akron because of the cross-town rivalry, Robinson said, but also because the team wants to prove itself against the top-ranked Zips.

Multiple wins would also help give the Flashes a cushion for later on in the season, Robinson added.

Behind Robinson, the Flashes look to pass Akron, and the rest of the MAC in order to win a championship, and eventually make it to the regional championships.

“We definitely have the potential, and I know that we have the ability to do it,” Robinson said.

Contact softball reporter Deanna Stevens at