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Quentin Batalillon

General News 2024

Watkins’ Carsyn Cassady is the Advocate Softball Pitcher of the Year.

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PATASKALA – Getting a hit from Carsyn Cassady is often a cause for celebration in the opposing dugout, and scoring a point blows up cell phones.

The right-handed softball player from Watkins Memorial was expected to be perfect every time she threw in the circle. The senior Cassady usually came close.

“Sometimes people want you to be so perfect that if you make a mistake, someone gets mad about it. It’s hard, but at the end of the day, I constantly remind myself and my parents that I won’t always be perfect,” Cassady said. “Someone’s going to score, otherwise I’m not going to get a strikeout at the big moment when I need one, because we’re all human. Sometimes the hitter just wins, and it’s not our fault or anything we could have done better.”

By parlaying her work into a few dozen one-on-one battles every afternoon, Cassady was virtually unbeatable. Cassady pitched the Warriors to a fourth consecutive undefeated run through the Licking County League and fourth straight Division I district and regional championships before reaching the state finals for the second time in four seasons.

Cassady has been named The Advocate Softball Pitcher of the Year for the second time in three seasons.

“The pressure is good and bad,” Watkins coach Mike Jellison said. “It forces them to put in the time and effort, but it’s also exhausting. (Cassady) handled it with class.”

Cassady, who will head to Michigan State next season, finished the season 29-1 and struck out an impressive 339 batters in 162 innings. She allowed just 61 hits and eight earned runs for a microscopic ERA of 0.35.

Cassady’s all-time numbers include 103 wins (never losing an LCL game) and 1,081 strikeouts. She was named LCL-Buckeye Division Player of the Year and to the All-Ohio first team, her fourth all-state honor.

“Honestly, my ERA, with the amount of games I pitched, was a great achievement,” Cassady said. “Aside from the strikeouts and minus everything else, it’s a big deal that they’re not scoring. There was a little bit more pressure to make all my records stand out more than they do, and in the end I think they all look really good on paper.

Cassady’s combination of a roughly 60 mph fastball and a changeup had her racking up strikeout after strikeout. She struck out 17 in both wins against eventual Division II runner-up Granville and 15 in wins against Licking Valley and Heath.

Cassady struck out just five, a career-low for a seven-inning stretch, during the 5-0 shutout of Lancaster in the Division I regional final, but it was still a masterful performance. Her breaking pitches kept batters off balance and took the sting out of the Golden Gales’ powerful bats.

“I knew going into the game we weren’t going to get 10 or 12 strikeouts. With any team you have to know who you’re dealing with, and we do research to get a little bit of a backstory on who their top hitters are,” Cassady said. “The goal was not to eliminate everyone. It was meant to have those soft pop-ups and ground outs that are easy outs. If you do that, it puts even more pressure on the hitter.”

A two-hit, nine-strikeout shutout in a 2-0 win against Anthony Wayne put Cassady in the state semifinals. Cassady defeated Kat Meyers in Michigan.

Watkins unfortunately did not make it to the fairy tale, losing 4-0 to second chance champion Austintown-Fitch in the state finals. Two early home runs for the Falcons were the difference, but Cassady settled down and struck out 10, allowing just two earned runs.

“Carsyn almost apologizes,” Jellison said. “She gets to the dugout and almost cries, saying, ‘Sorry, guys, I couldn’t make an out for you.’ Carsyn’s attitude is that she only has to make one run, because they are not going to score anyway.”

Cassady didn’t need tears. She and star senior catcher Jordyn Wycuff helped elevate the Watkins program to previously unimaginable standards.

“The way she dealt with it was every time she went there she said she chose to be great,” Wycuff said. “When she steps on the rubber, I know there’s no one better than her.”

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