Hitting one grand slam in a season is an accomplishment most softball players would be proud of.
San Francisco State senior Kristin Bartholomay pulled off that impressive feat twice. In one game.
"The pitcher kept throwing my favorite pitch — an inside drop," Bartholomay said of the homers. "After the two grand slams, she stopped throwing that one."
Bartholomay’s monster 3-for-4, two-homer, eight-RBI performance in the Gators’ 17-15 victory over Cal State Bernardino on April 6 was the centerpiece of a weeklong batting tear that garnered her Player of the Week honors from the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
Last week, the senior designated player from Agoura Hills hit .429, with three home runs and 12 RBIs, helping the Gators capture five of their six games to improve to 27-24 for the season.
For the year, Bartholomay has increased her batting average for the fourth straight season, hitting .315 with eight doubles, five homers and a team-leading 31 RBIs.
Making her impressive numbers all the more remarkable is the fact that she hasn’t fully recovered from offseason surgery on her shoulder to repair a torn labrum. After having the procedure in August, Bartholomay was afflicted with bursitis, a setback that kept her from playing in the field this year.
"I’m only about 50 percent right now throwing the ball, so fielding was kind of out the question," said Bartholomay, who was an All-CCAA second-team performer last year. "It was a little uncomfortable in the beginning of the season because it was kind of painful while I was batting. But right now, I feel fine."
The Gators, who have won at least 40 games each the past three seasons, started slow in 2007, dropping 11 of their first 14 games, but they have steadily improved after losing their entire pitching staff from a year ago.
Entering their key four-game series this weekend against league foe Cal State Stanislaus, which knocked the Gators out in last year’s NCAA Division II West Regional, S.F. State has battled back to a 17-11 mark in the CCAA, good for fourth place, and a No. 7 ranking.
To be considered for the postseason, the Gators must finish with a top-eight ranking and an above-.500 record. At 27-24, S.F. State is perilously close to that mark.
"This series is extremely important, we definitely need to play well against Stanislaus," Bartholomay said. "I haven’t really thought about my college career being almost over, it’ll probably hit me on senior day. But right now, we just want to keep playing as long as possible."
For the Gators to extend their season, Bartholomay will certainly be a key factor. As one of six seniors on the S.F. State roster, she has provided stability for a young team that is peaking at just the right time.
"Kristin has really been amazing this year, especially with the adjustment because of her injury," Gators coach Kristi Lansford said. "We really count on her being a big run producer for us and she has come through in a huge way. I don’t know where we would be this year without her."