MOUNT WASHINGTON - A good softball pitcher always listens to the advice of her catcher.
Bullitt East senior pitcher Jamie Lutes did just that this spring when she opted to follow her catcher, Rachel Simms, to Asbury University to join the Eagles’ softball program.
Simms signed back before the 2012 season began. Lutes followed suit midway through the recently completed season.
“I just felt like it was the one for me,” Lutes said following a ceremony in the Bullitt East library. “I just felt like I would fit in there.”
The fact that Simms had already signed with Asbury was not a deciding factor for Lutes, but it sure was nice.
“It didn’t really have a bearing, but it was a bonus that she was going there,” the pitcher said.
Lutes had been active in the recruiting system for the past year. She had made a visit to Asbury in November. It just took a little time to make that final decision.
“I knew I was going somewhere, but I just wasn’t sure where,” Lutes said of being sure she wanted to play softball at the next level.
“I kind of knew what I wanted to do back in February,” she said of a college decision. “It just took some time to get all the paperwork done.”
Lutes, along with Simms and the other five seniors in the program, helped turn around a Bullitt East softball program that had gone through a rough patch before head coach Ricky Hoffman took over three years ago. With Lutes in the circle, the Lady Chargers have won three straight district championships as well as playing in two Sixth Region Championship games, winning the 2012 title with an 8-2 victory over Butler that led to a first-ever trip to the Kentucky State Fast-Pitch State Tournament.
The 18-year old daughter of Melanie and Randy Lutes would like to focus even more on pitching at the next level. At Bullitt East, she batted fifth for much of this season and even when she was not pitching in the past, was playing in the outfield.
“Pitching is what I want to do for sure,” Lutes said. “That is what I would like to do. But I don’t care. I’ll play anywhere, but I prefer to pitch.”
Lutes’ father was one of her coaches at Bullitt East the past three seasons.
Lutes is the second player from her family to play high school softball. Her older sister, Randi Gail, played at Bullitt Central. Her younger sister, Kelli, who is 15-years old, is a basketball player.
The softball career for Lutes began when she was five years old in the Mount Washington Youth League. She played in that league until she was 12 when she joined a traveling team. Both last summer and this summer, she has been playing for the Louisville Gators’ program.
At Asbury Lutes will be looking for classes with a science basis as she would like to become a dentist.
Over the second half of this past season, Lutes did most of the pitching for the Lady Chargers after sophomore Morgan Raymer suffered a severely sprained ankle on the team’s spring break trip to Florida. Raymer did not return until the last week of the regular season, pitching only sparingly.
Lutes entered the state tournament this year with a 19-8 record with a 2.73 earned run average. In 154 innings of work, she had 134 strikeouts to just 45 walks. She did allow 137 hits.
At the plate, Lutes had a .244 batting average in 90 plate appearances. She had eight doubles and drove home 18 runs as the Lady Chargers had a 28-9 record before the two straight losses in the state tournament.
“I think she will pitch at the next level,” Hoffman said. “I think she can do really well at that level. She will have an everyday pitching coach who will work with her. Her work ethic is really good and that will help her at the next level.”
In the past week, both Lutes and Simms were surprised to learn that Asbury head coach Jon Sanders, who had made the trip to Mount Washington for both of their signings, had resigned. The Eagles posted a 24-28 record this past season and had been 14-6 in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
As of last week, assistant coach Ty McKinney was running the program until a new coach was hired.