Not since Corrie Allan had a pitcher for GHS dominated the competition like Kelcie Matesa did during her 4 year career with the Miners. If there was a pitching record or softball award in the state of Illinois, Kelcie Matesa
probably had it. While at Gillespie High School, she broke the IHSA career record for strikeouts (2008) with 1,501, was named to the 2008 Chicago Tribune All-State first team, earned a spot on the 2008 Illinois Coaches Associated All-State first team, was a two-time State Journal Register Softball Player of the Year, was a two-time Alton Telgegraph Player of the Year, was a four-time SCC All-Conference Selection, was a four-time Alton Telegraph All-Aream First Team selection, was a three-time State Journal Register All Area pick, and led her team to two SCC conference championships, 4 regional titles, and a 94-22 record. After a spectacular high school career, Matesa left Gillespie for a softball scholarship at St. Louis University (SLU).
During her freshman season at SLU, Matesa continued her domination on the mound. She was an A-10 All Rookie Selection, had a team high strikeouts (122), which already ranked her 10th on SLU’s all-time career strikeout list, led the Billiken pitching staff with a 3.94 ERA with 8 victories in 156.1 innings pitched with 25 starts.
And her sophomore season ended with just as much success. She led the team with 162 strikeouts which placed her 5th among A-10 pitchers, was A-10 pitcher of the week, and had an era of 2.58 with 14 wins in 21 starts that included 14 complete games and 4 shutouts while holding opposing hitters to a .216 batting average.
Before boarding her plane for a 5 game tournament in Riverside, California, Kelcie answered a few questions for the BenGil Post about her junior season at SLU.
1) What’s this season look like for you? At the time of printing, SLU is currently 15-10, while Kelcie is 5-2 with 59 strikeouts and a 3.17 era.
I think that the season looks very promising. We are off to a great start with our new coaching staff. I think that the new changes will bring great things and add to a successful season. We are off to a great start and still have a long way to go!
2) What are the big games this year?
I think that our big games this year would have to be against Fordham and UMASS, both of which are in our Conference and I believe at least one of them if not both were in the top 25 teams in the country last year.
3) What games would you recommend your fans in Gillespie and Benld go to this year? Any close ones other than SLU?
I would say that the closest games that fans from home would want to travel to would be to Edwardsville when we play SIUE (April 26th, 3:00). Our other games that are away are pretty good trips considering that our conference is made up of teams from the East coast. Another semi-close game would be SIUC (On March 30th at 3:00).
4) What’s the biggest difference between high school and college softball?
I would have to say that there are three huge differences in college ball than in high school ball for me. The competition is so much better because every team that you play has the best of the best. Traveling/managing your school work has such an impact on a student athlete. Since we are in the A-10 Conference we have to travel out to the East Coast to play our games, which takes us out of our classes most Thursdays and Fridays. You really have to learn to manage your time between your studies and your sport. The last
thing that was a huge change for me was the weightlifting program that I started when I got to college. I know that in high school we would sometimes lift in P.E. but that was always hit and miss. In college we lift three days a week and condition two days a week in the off-season and during the season we lift two days a week when we are in town.
5) If you had to recommend two things high school girls hoping to play college softball should focus on, what would they be?
I think that the two biggest things that they need to focus on would have to be weights/conditioning and just getting noticed by college coaches. If you want to play at the college level you need to be on a team that goes to the top tournaments where there are college coaches in the stands. College coaches do not waste their time going to high school games or the low-key tournaments in the summer. You will see them at the National Qualifiers and the Exposure Tournaments that are held around the country. If you are serious about playing at the next level you really need to get on a team where everyone else has the same goal; you are not longer just playing to have fun. My college coach never came to a high school game of mine and he only saw me play in the summer. As far as weights, I regret not hitting them harder in high school, because I got a huge shock when I got to college. Getting stronger and faster can only help you in the end!
6) What are your plans after college? What’s your college major?
I am a Special Education Major with a concentration in Elementary Education. I will be certified to teach Special Education K-12 and Elementary Ed. 1-6. My goal is to get a teaching job that allows me to coach softball or continue coaching the select team that I started coaching this past Fall. I also plan to go back to school and get my Master’s in Education.