Student Voice

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June 20, 2024

Bertrand sets pace for Falcons' success

April 5, 2007

The Falcons are just a month into the season and already have more than half the amount of wins they had all of last year. This turnaround has been helped in part by the pitching of junior Ashley Bertrand.

A graduate of Como Park Senior High School, Bertrand has been playing fast-pitch softball since she was 11 years old.

“I liked how much control I had over the game,” she said of her decision to become a pitcher. “Being a pitcher enables you to set the pace and the overall tone for the game.”

Coming out of high school, Bertrand said she chose to attend UW-River Falls because of the coaching staff and the proximity to home. A former mathematics major, she just switched to accounting because she plans on being an accountant after graduation and River Falls doesn’t offer a minor in the subject.

Since her freshman year, Bertrand has led the pitching staff in almost all statistical categories, including wins (31), strikeouts (285), games started (68), appearances (77) and innings pitched (317). She is already moving up the Falcons career leader boards in those statistics and could take over first place in strikeouts sometime this season.

“[She] developed a command of her pitches that puts her as one of the top pitchers in UW-RF history,” Head Coach Faye Perkins said of Bertrand.

She has a 0.97 ERA to go with her 7 wins this season and said the 10 games the Falcons played in Florida over spring break were “the best I’ve ever pitched.”

Bertrand’s success can be linked to her variety of pitches to keep hitters off balance: she throws a curveball, screwball, rise ball, knuckleball and change up.

“I would rather throw a pitch with movement so it’s more difficult to hit,” she said of why she does not throw her fastball.

Perkins said that Bertrand’s best pitch depends on the batter.

“Ashley has a broader repertoire of pitches,” she said. “Other pitchers rely on one or the other.”

Her success is also helped by the pitching of fellow pitcher Brittany Rathbun. Rathbun, also a junior, has been pitching alongside Bertrand since they were both freshmen.

“We complement each other so well it’s insane,” Bertrand said. “I’m a rise-ball pitcher and Britt is a drop-ball pitcher, so when one of us relieves the other, the batters are so thrown off, they usually don’t have time to adjust and figure out how to hit us.”

Rathbun said she has also noticed the ways in which the two complement one another.

“It’s so nice being able to bounce ideas, different pitches and different ways to throw pitches off of each other,” Rathbun said. “It’s easy for teammates who play the same position to compete against one another, but she and I use it to our advantage to better each other.”

Bertrand has high expectations for the remainder of this season “lots of wins, few losses, and playing well together as a team.”

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