Star pitcher behind Bishop O'Connell softball team's dominant start

A local high school team used to softball success is redefining dominance.

The Bishop O’Connell softball team is off to an unbelievable start, thanks in large part to one player who can do it all.

The Knights started the year with 6 wins and 0 losses. A start like that can be relatively ordinary.

But they’ve won those 6 games by a combined score of 76-1 — which is extraordinary.

Some of those games include blowouts with the team scoring 19 and 20 runs, and holding their opponent to none. 

The Bishop O' Connell softball program has been dominant for decades, winning 26 of the last 28 Virginia Independent School Championships.

Bishop O' Connell softball Head Coach Suzy Willemssen

Head Coach Suzy Willemssen credits the entire team and school community for the support and success, but one player, Katie Kutz, is a star she’s glad she gets to coach.

"Her stats speak for themselves, but her team leadership, team first attitude, all that. Again, I like to tell people she’s a better person than she is a player, and she’s a pretty phenomenal player," Willemssen said.

Kutz is a senior, and has already committed to Oklahoma State to pitch.

On the mound, coming into Friday, Kutz has pitched 32 innings and struck out 85 batters. She's only allowed 4 hits all year.

As a batter, she’s hitting a video-game-like .769 and is averaging a home run per game.

Kutz told FOX 5 she relies heavily on her faith, and is thankful for her support system.

"He has put some incredible people in my life who help me with everything, like waking up super early in the morning to train, and then going to school, and then practicing after school," Kutz said. "I couldn’t do that without the people that God’s put in my life and the strength and energy that he gives me."

Early mornings are the norm for Kutz. Aside from being an elite softball player, she also trains as a bodybuilder, keeping an intense workout and diet regimen.

"It definitely helps with the softball," Kutz said. "The mental aspect of it with the diet, the training, the cardio; it’s very difficult. But God’s kind of taught me to do the hard things there, and to really be disciplined, and that’s definitely helped with my softball."

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Kutz’s mother, Kathy, says a switch flipped for the already-talented athlete when the pandemic began.

"You had to be a lot more structured in school to do well, and she just got a lot more focused during that time, and it’s just built on that," Mrs. Kutz said. She’s incredibly mature for her age, I would say."

Katie's dad Greg said that waking up early and Katie making all of her own food is part of the reason for this year’s dominance so far.

"Very proud. I see all the work and dedication she puts in, getting up at 3 in the morning and just working so hard at her body building, hitting, pitching, and all that’s come to fruition this year again," Mr. Kutz said. "She’s seeing the fruits of all her labor."