Prior to Boise State softball’s 2020 season cancellation following decisions by Boise State and the Mountain West, the team was ranked eleventh in the nation for shutouts with seven. Senior pitcher Kelsey Broadus has four of them.
As of March 5, Broadus’ shutouts are ranked third in the country.
“As a freshman in college, I kept a journal and I wrote down my goals in my career and one of those goals was to beat the shutout record,” Broadus said. “[Being first in the nation for shutouts] was a pretty special moment for me. Those are hard to come by so it is a great accomplishment to have and I couldn’t have done it without the defense behind me.”
While Broadus has played softball for as long as she can remember, her journey to pitching for the Boise State Broncos was a unique one.
While many athletes tell stories about falling in love with their sport from a young age, the same cannot be said for Broadus. When she was in sixth grade, her dad signed her up for pitching lessons every Thursday night; she was not a fan.
“I absolutely hated it,” Broadus said. “I never wanted to go to the pitching lessons every Thursday night. But once high school came around, it started getting more fun. We started winning in high school and it just started to go from there.”
Broadus grew up in Albany, Oregon where she helped lead her high school team to three state tournaments, including a semifinals appearance in 2013.
Broadus ended her high school career as a three-time, all-state selection and had a 1.73 earned run average (ERA), 255 strikeouts and a 10-8 record in her junior season. Unfortunately, her senior season came to an end early due to an injury.
Throughout high school, Broadus played travel softball with one of her current teammates, senior outfielder Jessica McKay.
“I played travel ball with Kelsey, so our relationship has grown a lot just from that alone,” McKay said. “When we came to college together, we were roommates our freshman year so we have been good friends throughout.”
Broadus’ freshman year at Boise State in 2017 was one for the books. She made 30 appearances with a 7-2 record, including one shutout and five saves. She also led Boise State’s pitching staff in ERA with a 2.99.
Her sophomore year was one of her best years statistically, as well as in Boise State history. Broadus had two top 10 finishes, including a 2.55 ERA that ranked fourth all-time in Boise State’s single-season record book. She also became, and remains, Boise State’s No. 1 ranked pitcher for single-season batting average at .194.
To cap it off, Broadus became the first-ever Bronco to be named Mountain West Pitcher of the Year.
Boise State reached the 2018 NCAA Tournament after clinching the Mountain West season title for the first time in program history. Broadus pitched 5.2 innings in the NCAA Seattle Regional.
“Kelsey Broadus is a competitor because she always wants the ball in her hand every single time she can, especially when the game matters,” said head coach Maggie Huffaker, whose first season as the Broncos’ head coach was in 2019.
Broadus followed her record-setting sophomore year with more great outings in her junior year (2019). As an “official” upperclassman and a veteran on the team, she looked to help lead the Broncos to another NCAA Tournament. She finished her junior year with a team-leading 15-7 record and a 3.01 ERA.
Broadus also led her team with most strikeouts per innings pitched in her junior year with 100 strikeouts in just 134.2 innings. Her regular-season stats followed her into the NCAA Tournament, as she only gave up four runs in 18 innings pitched, giving her a 1.55 ERA in just three starts. Broadus also helped lead two victories against Stanford University in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
“She is a competitor when she gets on the mound and has confidence no matter what,” McKay said. “She knows that we always have her back on and off the field.”
Broadus has some unfinished business with her softball career. She has plenty more achievements she would love to accomplish before she graduates and, possibly, retire from softball completely.
“The biggest goal is that I want to win another Mountain West championship, which would be the second time in my career,” Broadus said. “I hope to be Mountain West Pitcher of the Year again and get back to my sophomore self. I really want to get to the postseason and the NCAA Tournament because that would be huge for the school and this program to get there again after being there twice.”
While the 2020 season ended due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, a statement from the NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee on March 13 may provide a glimmer of hope for the senior’s collegiate softball career:
“Council leadership agreed that eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I student-athletes who participated in spring sports. Details of eligibility relief will be finalized at a later time. Additional issues with NCAA rules must be addressed, and appropriate governance bodies will work through those in the coming days and weeks.”
If the council approves an extra year of eligibility for spring sport athletes who have been impacted by season cancellations, Broadus’ goals to win another Mountain West championship among other things could be revived in 2021.