2019 BALTIMORE COUNTY
Towson southpaw Leatherwood blanks No. 4 Catonsville on four hits in Baltimore County championship game; Kelly’s two RBIs pace fifth-ranked Generals
by Nelson Coffin
At age 14, Jessica Leatherwood learned how to throw a curve.
On Tuesday afternoon in the Baltimore County softball championship game against No. 4 Catonsville at CCBC-Catonsville, the Towson High senior southpaw appeared to be very close to mastering the pitch.
The off-speed offering combined with a well-located fastball certainly had the Comets (15-4) flummoxed, considering that Lockwood scattered four hits, struck out 11 and walked just one batter in a dazzling 4-0 shutout to lift the fifth-ranked Generals (14-2) to their first county title in 26 years.
“Jessica keeps getting better every game,” first-year Towson coach Jon Salvino said. “The girls are just so confident in her. They know that she’ll get the job done.”
Salvino said that his relationship with Leatherwood and sophomore catcher Maci Hakim has served the team well.
“There’s no doubt that when I call for a pitch, she’ll hit the spot,” the coach added.
Leatherwood received just enough offense from her teammates to secure the victory.
The Generals plated two runs in the third inning after back-to-back doubles by junior second baseman Sydney Martin and senior left fielder Tyanna Butler and an intentional walk to sophomore leadoff hitter Nicole Poling loaded the bases.
Catonsville starting pitcher Sammi Sisolak nearly wiggled out of the jam by inducing two force-out grounders before senior center fielder Emma Kelly’s two-run seeing-eye single gave Towson a 2-0 advantage.
“It’s a funny game,” Salvino said. “Sometimes the ball bounces your way. And credit to (Kelly) for getting the bat on the ball and putting the ball in play.”
The Generals added one run in the fifth on junior shortstop Taylor Brumagan’s RBI single that knocked in Poling, who head reached on a force-out and stole second.
Sophomore first baseman Olivia Ingrao scored the final run in the sixth on an error after she opened the inning with a single.
Although Leatherwood yielded her only free pass of the game to sophomore second baseman Kristina Dayhoff, who fouled off several good pitches, the Towson ace ended the game in fine style by fanning the final Comet batter.
Catonsville coach Steve McCleary said that it was the best performance he had ever seen from Leatherwood.
“She pitched an awesome game,” he said.
Leatherwood said that the curve even befuddles her at times.
“I don’t even know how I throw it,” she said. “But it has good movement on it.”
Leatherwood, who plans to play the sport at Notre Dame of Maryland University next year, said that the Generals have been building for this moment since she and the other seven senior were freshman.
“This is the year,” she said. “We have big goals, and we hope to go far. We’ll see where we go from here.”
Salvino feels the same way.
“We’ve talked about how we want to put up a 2019 banner for county, regional and states,” he said. “But we’ve never won a regional final. That’s been the monkey on our back for a long time. We’re hoping to change that.”
BALTIMORE COUNTY SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
NO. 5 TOWSON 4, NO. 4 CATONSVILLE 0
Catonsville 000 000 0 — 0
Towson 002 011 0 — 4
Sammi Sisolak, Erin Kreis (5) and Devin Tracey; Jessica Leatherwood and Macie Hakim
2B: TOW-Sydney Martin, Tyanna Butler.