BILLINGS – Q2’s Athlete of the Week is arguably the most dominant softball player ever to take the field for MSU Billings.
Bella Rovens is leaving with five school records, including her most recent — career hits. How she did that was more about what she didn’t do at the plate.
“I don’t necessarily always look first pitch,” said Rovens. “Later on in games, after my first couple at-bats, if the first pitch is there, then I’ll hit it. But at the beginning I just like to see what she throws so I can go back and have something to tell my teammates, and the people next.”
That’s the job of a lead-off hitter: scout early pitches and expose those details. See enough pitches and you’re bound to hit them. Rovens broke MSUB’s all-time hits record with number 208 a week ago Sunday at Northwest Nazarene.
“I mean, it was cool to see my teammates, my coaches super excited for me,” she recounted.
“It was awesome. For her to beat it out was really exciting because that’s what she does, she slaps it,” said Yellowjackets head coach Jessica Raymond. “Everybody gets so excited jumping up and down and you just start to get goose bumps because a kid like that definitely deserves it.”
Rovens has spent her life using speed to beat out close throws. It’s all she could do when she was little, so she made a career out of it.
Naturally, that’s how she’d beat the school record. She’s never been a power hitter. In fact, only has five home runs… the first at home as a college freshman. She wasn’t even sure it would get out.
“No. It was pretty low and I was hoping they wouldn’t rob it because that’s what we do in the outfield. I didn’t even know how to run around the bases or anything,” she laughed.
She’s since run the bases plenty, leaving MSUB as the career leader in hits (216), runs scored (157), at-bats (622), walks (89), and starts (190). A far cry from when she first arrived in Billings from the Reno area.
“Honestly, I though it would be more like, open area. Like, more farmy, haha.”
Rovens says she was sold the moment she arrived for a recruiting visit and wouldn’t trade a thing, including team pictures in the snow.
“I mean it’s pretty funny because we have to walk in each other’s footsteps so we don’t mess up the snow, you know? Because then Evan (O’Kelly, MSUB Sports Information Director) would have to find some new spots to take the pictures.”
What’s next? Rovens plans to stick around Billings, pursue a nursing career and, obviously, take a shot at recreational league slow pitch.
Note to opponents: look out for the slap.