Pioneer’s softball program has a proud tradition that includes a Hall of Fame coach, the late Gary “Herk” Hoffman.
The last two years the Panthers have reached the semistate level and have been steadily improving. Next year they hope to field a team that resembles one of Hoffman’s top teams that earned his program an elite status.
The catalyst behind the Panthers’ semistate runs the last two years has been junior pitcher Betsy Bingaman, the 2012 Loganland Softball Player of the Year.
Bingaman went 22-10 with a 1.91 ERA this season. She fanned 240 in 194 1/3 innings pitched, walking just 33. She ranked third in the state in innings pitched and sixth in strikeouts.
She allowed zero earned runs in the Panthers’ five tournaments games this year.
“She spins the ball really well,” said Pioneer coach John Bingaman, Betsy’s father. “She throws a screwball and has a highly effective curveball. She has five pitches and the nice thing is she can throw them all for strikes. She spins the ball and hits her spots, and she’s a real cerebral kid. She’s in the top two or three in her class. She’s going to get looks just because of her academics. Her SATs were off the charts.
“She knows how to pitch. She keeps the hitters off balance.”
John Bingaman said Betsy’s fastball ranges from 55 to 58 mph and added that she can add velocity by adding strength to her 5-foot-3 frame.
Betsy said overall she was pleased with how the season went.
“I feel like we improved this season. I improved and our whole team improved,” she said. “I feel like we improved defensively and with pitching. I didn’t have a good season offensively, but most importantly my team improved around me and were pushing me to be better.”