Warrenton High junior righthander Kathryn McChristy takes extra precaution to make sure every pore on her face is open and free from germs.
A clean countenance translates to success in the pitching circle.
At least in McChristy's world.
"She likes to say her hobby is skin care," Warrenton coach Chad Berrey said. "She's not kidding. It's important to her."
McChristy aspires to be a dermatologist.
Since eighth grade, she has been studying and learning the proper ways to take of her skin. From peel-away masks to high-level medications, McChristy has experimented with all varieties of methods.
"I think I know what works and what doesn't," McChristy said.
The same could be said for her pitching prowess.
McChristy has been a terror for the Warriors for the past two-plus seasons.
After setting school single-season strikeout records in each of her first two years, she is off to another blistering start for Warrenton (4-3).
McChristy has fanned 54 batters in 29 innings — an average of 13.3 whiffs per seven-inning contest. Most importantly, she has walked just four batters and sports one of the top strikeout-to-walk ratios in the state.
That pinpoint control, along with a fastball that tops out in the low 60s (miles per hour), could make for a bright future.
"She's good already," said Webster Groves High senior Hannah Jansen, who catches McChristy on the Top Gun Club team out of Kansas City. "And she keeps getting better."
Plus, she serves as a skin advisor for Jansen, who is one of her best friends.
"She's given me a few suggestions," Jansen said. "They work. When it comes to (skin care) she knows what she's talking about."
McChristy said she realizes her hobby and potential career choice are not common.
But she goes after it with the same passion that takes onto the softball field.
"Taking care of your skin, girls understand it — but most guys don't," McChristy said. "You've got to wash your face and moisturize, those are the most important things."
Berrey appreciates McChristy's desire to reach the top of both fields.
"When she makes up her mind and sets out to do something, you're not going to stop her," Berrey said.
McChristy has reached double digits in strikeouts in 29 of her 50 appearances. She fanned a career high 16 batters in a 3-2 eight-inning win over Holt on Aug. 29.
Last year, she struck out 233 in 147 innings on the way to a 15-7 mark and a 1.71 ERA. That total eclipsed the single-season mark of 221 she set during her freshman campaign.
With almost two full high school seasons left, McChristy already holds the school career record for most strikeouts (508) — an impressive total considered the pitching-rich school can boast of former standouts Taylor Nordwald and Kaylee Anderson.
The key to McChristy's success lies in her ability to bear down in clutch situations.
"She's better under pressure," Berrey said. "The stronger the team or the tougher the situation, the harder she throws. If you put a radar gun on her with nobody on and nobody out, she’s probably hitting in the high 50s. But if you put a runner on third in a high-pressure situation, she’ll push it up into the 60s."
McChristy saved her best for last in 2019 by striking out 10 or more batters in five of her last six starts.
In addition to traveling to Kansas City to look for elite summer competition on the club level, McChristy works on her game year-round. She throws in the garage of her Jonesburg home five days a week under the watchful eye of her father Patrick, who serves as catcher.
"The best part is she likes putting in all that extra time," Patrick said.
McChristy, who also is dangerous as a hitter, has an uncanny gift of being able to spin the ball yet still keep it under control. That's a skill that is hard to teach.
In addition, McChristy sports a razor-like focus when in the circle.
"She's so intense," said Jansen, who has been catching her on the club level for the last four years. "Then you come in the dugout and she'll say something funny or make a joke."
McChristy already has garnered the attention of several NCAA Division I programs. She would like to stay close to home and pitch at the University of Missouri down the road.
"She's got the talent and the work ethic to get there," Berrey said.
McChristy is determined to help the Warriors back to the final four. Warrenton captured Class 3 state championships in 2015 and 2016.
"That's what we're all working for," she said. “We think we can get there.”
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