South Charlotte

She's got it all in focus

Caitlin Kurtz dominates when she steps on the mound. This year, the Marvin Ridge senior is 13-3 and one of the best pitchers to ever come out of North Carolina.

She has struck out more than 750 batters, recorded 38 shutouts and posted four perfect games- three this year.

She owns records in four North Carolina state softball categories, including strikeouts, perfect games, innings pitched and shutouts.

"I am not a power pitcher, but try to keep everyone off balance," Kurtz said.

"Once I face somebody once, I can remember what worked and what didn't. I try to spin the ball, change speeds and dictate the pace of at bats."

Kurtz knows what she wants to be in life, and it has nothing to do with the sport she dominates.

"I made the decision that softball is a game and I want it to stay that way," Kurtz said. "I was close to signing with a school, but decided I will focus on my academic work. I am a student first, an individual second and a softball player last."

One of her best softball memories was being named the Greater Charlotte Hot Stove Softball Scholar of the Year last year.

"It was just a huge honor to win that award," Kurtz said. "It is so neat to be recognized for my on the field work and my school work. Both are very important to me. It was humbling."

Kurtz has made the honor roll every semester the school posted data. She will attend N.C. State next year and study to be a bio-medical engineer.

"It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, but I woke up one morning and knew it was the right thing to do," Kurtz said. "I want softball to be fun. If I played in college it may not be fun and I never want it to be a job or something that I have to do."

Softball comes easy for the senior right-hander. She took up the sport as a 10-year-old in her local Brownie troop.

Kurtz is well-spoken, polite - and competitive.

"I just turn into a totally different person on the mound," Kurtz said. "I am like a machine, I just get so focused on what I am doing out there."

She has had perfect games against Rocky River, Parkwood and Olympic this year. No hits, no walks-nobody reached base.

"After my first one last year it was just incredible," she said. "I am totally freaking out inside because I want to know if my teammates know what is going on. I want to ask them, but I can't and they won't talk to me because they do know what is happening. It is a strange situation."

One game that sums up how Kurtz is on the mound and as a competitor started out harmlessly. It was 2009 and Marvin Ridge was playing Hickory Ridge.

The day started out sunny, but ended under the lights and in the pouring rain. Kurtz struck out 19 batters and the Mavericks won in 14 innings.

"That is probably my best high school memory," she said.

She is appreciative to have had the chance to be a high school pitcher, but after this season looks forward to the rest of her life.

"In five years I will have a degree from N.C. State and will be deciding if I should go to graduate school or not," she said.

"I am sure that I made the right decision with softball. I can always remember my time playing and I have great memories, but it is time to move on.."