YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Elle Buffenbarger is bringing the heat this season.
The YSU junior has a staggering 153 strikeouts. That leads the entire Horizon League this season, and it’s not close. Buffenbarger has at least 70 more strikeouts than every pitcher in the conference.
“It definitely feels good. I’m not going to sit here and say I’m mad about it,” says Buffenbarger jokingly. “My philosophy is every pitch, every batter. If you’re watching you can hear my mom yell it from the stands, but it’s just focusing on one pitch at a time.”
“She’s not trying to strike them out,” says YSU head coach Brian Campbell. “She’s just trying to get her defense to work behind her. And if the strikeouts come, they come. And that’s the approach she’s taken this year.”
“Just knowing that I’m helping my team, and my job on the team is to pitch. If I’m successful in strikeouts, if I’m successful in getting them to hit ground balls, I’m doing my job. And as long as I’m doing my job for the team, that makes me pretty happy.”
Buffenbarger also leads the league with 13 wins, and 15 complete games. And her career totals are piling up too.
Buffenbarger has racked up 461 strikeouts over the last 4 years. That’s the 2nd most in program history behind Casey Crozier. With one more year of eligibility, even that record could fall.
“It’s kind of hard to compare between because Casey was just a power pitcher,” says Campbell. “Elle is more finesse. She’s going to go at you at certain times but she’s also going to expand that strike zone and that’s what’s helped her a lot.”
“Records are meant to be broken. Even if I happen to set it, someone is going to break it in a couple years so they’re just meant to be broken. It’s something cool, and I’d like to have my name on Youngstown’s book so I can say I represented my school well, but they come and go, and I want to be remembered more as a better teammate than how many strikeouts I had.”
The YSU Softball team is currently sitting atop the conference standings with a school record 20 league wins. They start a 4-game series with Robert Morris on Friday.