BLACKSVILLE — In high school softball, a team can win a lot of games with two strong starting pitchers. In the case of the Clay-Battelle softball team, that’s been the case through the first half of the season.
The Cee-Bees have ridden senior Abbey Ammons and junior Caitlyn Kassay to a 13-1 mark with not only their ability in the circle, but also their bats.
In the 14 games, opponents scored just 25 runs — 15 came in a doubleheader March 24, against Shadyside (Ohio). In the last nine games, the Cee-Bees have seven shutouts, with a couple perfect games and no-hitters sprinkled in, all pitched by Ammons and Kassay.
“It’s really great having Abbey, who is just as capable as myself to help out and allow myself and other people on the team to work on different aspects of their game,” Kassay said. “It makes us better as a team to have two dominant pitchers to handle tough situations.”
Ammons, who’s committed to play softball at Fairmont State next season, feels the same way about Kassay — The Dominion Post Player of the Year last season. When Kassay is pitching, Ammons is settled in at shortstop.
“Our defense is strongest when Caitlyn is on the mound,” she said. “She can always count on me to have her back at shortstop. A pitcher is more confident when she knows her defense is behind her.”
Kassay, in nine games, pitched 63 innings, allowing just six earned runs and striking out 117 batters along the way. She’s also walked just 15 on her way to an 8-0 record, including two no-hitters and a perfect game, March 26, against Notre Dame.
Confidence has been crucial for Kassay from last season to now.
“My confidence in my pitches has definitely improved, but most of all, my poise and how hard it takes for other teams to rattle my demeanor,” she said. “I’ve been working really hard during the offseason, and it’s showing me how much I’ve progressed and improved since last August.”
Kassay credits her trainers, coaches, parents and teammates for pushing her to get better in the circle. But as good as she’s been there, she may be even better at the plate.
In 47 plate appearances, Kassay has 33 hits (.703 average). Twenty of those hits have gone for extra bases — 13 doubles, two triples and five home runs. She’s also driven in 31 runs, far and away the team leader. Those RBI numbers can be attributed to Ammons, who usually gets on base before Kassay in the lineup.
Ammons has 27 hits in 49 at-bats for a .551 average, with 22 runs scored. She’s socked 12 extra base hits — seven doubles, two triples and three home runs — to go along with 10 stolen bases and 15 RBIs.
Her pitching numbers are just as impressive. Ammons pitched three no-hitters in her last three outings. In five of her six starts, she didn’t allow an earned run.
Like Kassay, Ammons wants to give everyone but herself the credit.
“It is an honor to play with such a talented group of athletes,” she said. “I believe we have a chance to make a run for states. I have been so successful because of those who have challenged me. My coaches, family, friends and community believe in me and allow me to believe in myself. I have worked hard in the offseason to attain my goals and I look forward to what the future holds for this team: My Cee-Bee family.”
The Cee-Bees will host Valley-Wetzel at 5 p.m. April 19.