Williamsport senior catcher Kayla Ewing produced one of the greatest offensive seasons in Washington County prep softball history this year — a season that left even herself in awe.
“We had the (Williamsport) sports banquet and they told everyone my final average and I was like, ‘Holy crap!’” Ewing said.
Her final numbers — a .621 average (36-for-58), seven doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, 33 RBIs and 25 runs scored in 20 games — look like something out of a video game. Adding in 10 walks, her on-base percentage was .676 while her slugging percentage was an astronomical 1.328.
Ewing is the 2011 Herald-Mail Washington County Softball Hitter of the Year — as if there was any doubt.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Ewing, who will play for Hagerstown Community College next spring. “I’m very proud of myself. Being my senior year, I’m just glad I wrapped it up with this.”
Ewing opened the season by homering twice in a 5-4 victory over Mountain Ridge. After a five-game homer-less stretch, she then launched seven in an eight-game stretch to bring the Maryland state single-season record of 12 within reach.
While Ewing only hit one more home run over her final six games, she remained red-hot. She closed her season with six hits in two playoff games, including a 4-for-4 effort with one last long ball against Hancock.
“It was amazing for me, especially since this was my first year as coach at Williamsport,” Jennie Finafrock said. “I told a couple people I work with that I’ll probably never have another player have the kind of season she had ever again.
“Kayla never tried to hit a home run, she was just very good at going with the pitch. If it was an inside pitch, she’d turn on it, but she adjusted to the pitch instead of making one swing work for every pitch and hoping she’d get the right pitch every once in a while.”
* Clear Spring junior Amber Forrest was forced into full-time pitching duty this season — against one stacked county lineup after another — and produced a stellar season.
While Forrest’s record (10-7) wasn’t the best in the county, she finished with the best earned-run average (1.84) and her 1.15 WHIP (combined walks and hits allowed per inning pitched) also topped the county. She struck out 111 in 106 1/3 innings, a rate of 1.04 per inning that tied for the top spot.
Forrest is the 2011 Herald-Mail Washington County Pitcher of the Year, edging out Smithsburg’s Cara Ferguson for the honor.
“I just worked as hard as I could this year,” Forrest said. “It was a challenge. I started throwing new pitches — a curve, a screw and another drop — over the winter, and that’s what started working better later in the season.”
Forrest was pressed into full-time duty when junior Morgan Purdham tore her ACL at the end of the basketball season.
“Amber had pitched well the previous year, and I had no reason to believe she couldn’t rise to the occasion, and she did,” Blazers coach Ron Baker said. “There’s hitting, pitching and defense, and probably the most consistent of our three phases was our pitching. We were in just about every game, and that was because of Amber.”
* Ewing and Forrest are joined on the 2011 Herald-Mail All-County Softball First Team by:
Allysen Breeden, North Hagerstown
Breeden, a senior catcher who was selected as a designated player, hit .468 (29-for-62) with 10 doubles, two triples, one home run and 21 RBIs, scored 19 runs and walked 10 times. She had a .542 on-base percentage and a .742 slugging percentage.
Cara Ferguson, Smithsburg
Ferguson, a sophomore pitcher, was the county’s top dual threat. At the plate, she hit .463 (31-for-67) with five doubles, five triples, one home run and 25 RBIs, scored 19 runs, walked 12 times and had a .550 on-base percentage and a .731 slugging percentage. In the circle, she was 17-4 with a 2.42 ERA, a 1.36 WHIP and struck out 94 in 113 innings.
Sam Gladhill, Smithsburg
Gladhill, a sophomore outfielder, hit .438 (32-for-73) with four doubles, four triples, two home runs and 33 RBIs. She scored 26 runs, walked seven times, had a .494 on-base percentage and a .685 slugging percentage.
Jessica Hartman, Smithsburg
Hartman, a senior outfielder, hit .328 (21-for-64) with four doubles, three home runs and 22 RBIs. She scored 17 runs, walked eight times, had a .411 on-base percentage and a .531 slugging percentage.
Karah Knight, Smithsburg
Knight, a junior infielder who was selected as a utility player, hit .343 (24-for-70) with six doubles, one triple and 26 RBIs. She scored 32 runs, walked 14 times, had a .452 on-base percentage and a .457 slugging percentage.
Shayla Murray, Smithsburg
Murray, a junior infielder, hit .451 (37-for-82) with five doubles, three triples and one home run. She scored a county-best 37 runs, walked eight times and had a .516 on-base percentage and a .622 slugging percentage.
Brooke Parks, Smithsburg
Parks, a sophomore outfielder, hit .480 (36-for-75) with five doubles, two triples and a county-best 38 RBIs. She scored 24 runs, walked six times, had a .530 on-base percentage and a .600 slugging percentage.
Haley Payne, Boonsboro
Payne, a senior infielder, hit .490 (25-for-51) with five doubles, three triples and five home runs. She finished with a .536 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage that was second to Ewing.
Faith Ricker, North Hagerstown
Ricker, a senior infielder, hit .443 (31-for-70) with four doubles and 23 RBIs. She finished with a .480 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage.
Kinsey Shifflett, Smithsburg
Shifflett, a sophomore catcher who was selected as a utility player, hit .422 (27-for-64) with 7 doubles and 16 RBIs. She scored 21 runs, walked nine times and had a .507 on-base percentage and a .531 slugging percentage.
Haley Thorn, Clear Spring
Thorn, a junior infielder, hit .410 (25-for-61) with five doubles, one triple and 16 RBIs. She scored 16 runs and had a .446 on-base percentage and a .525 slugging percentage.
Danielle Wissinger, North Hagerstown
Wissinger, a sophomore infielder, hit .377 (26-for-69) with two doubles, two triples, one home run and 11 RBIs. She scored 31 runs, walked 10 times and had a .456 on-base percentage and a .507 slugging percentage.
All-County Second Team
Sarah Elwood, Sophomore, Outfielder, Clear Spring
Casie Files, Sophomore, Infielder, Williamsport
Lauren Folk, Junior, Outfielder, North Hagerstown
Ariah Giles, Junior, Pitcher, Williamsport
Emily Harvey, Sophomore, Outfielder, Hancock
Candace Horchner, Senior, Infielder, Williamsport
Dani Hudson, Senior, Utility, Smithsburg
Jenna Knable, Sophomore, Catcher, Clear Spring
Shanan Plunkett, Senior, Infielder, North Hagerstown
Nikki Reeder, Senior, Infielder, Boonsboro
Heather Schlotterbeck, Junior, Infielder, Clear Spring
Jose Stotler, Junior, Outfielder, Clear Spring
Rachel Thomas, Sophomore, Pitcher, North Hagerstown
Tiffany Younker, Junior, DP, Hancock
All-County Honorable Mention
Boonsboro — Tristan Hartle, Alison Holmes, Amber Welch; Clear Spring — Sarah Blickenstaff; Hancock — Maureen Leavy, Jessica Martin, Tatum True, Sara Wagner; North Hagerstown — Rebecca Amalfitano, Amanda Fiery, Ali Forrest, Lauren Harbaugh, Brittanie Harris; Smithsburg — Dani Beaver; South Hagerstown — Taylor Leather, Kaitlyn Mades; Williamsport — Lisa Artz, Jasmine Rafter, Emily Taylor, Miranda Valentine, Autumn Wahler.