Chapman enjoying her pitching ‘K-reer’
CHESAPEAKE — “Special K” is more than a breakfast cereal for Allison Chapman. It’s the breakfast of champions for her each time she takes the mound.
The Chesapeake Lady Panthers’ senior pitcher has been racking up strikeouts — or “Ks” as they are written in the scorebook — the past four years starting with 194 strikeouts as a freshman followed by 230 as a sophomore and 285 last year when she posted a 20-1 record during Chesapeake’s 23-1 season.
“I always wanted to strike people out,” said Chapman.
“I just wanted to get more strikeouts every year. I wanted to get more my sophomore year than my freshman year, and more my junior year than my sophomore year and so on.”
So far, Chapman has been getting her wish. She recently surpassed 900 career strikeouts. She recorded No. 900 in a 13-0 win over Coal Grove on April 30. She followed that with a 17-strikeout performance two days later in a 13-inning tie against Ashland, Ky.
“It was pretty awesome,” Chapman said of her milestone. “I just want to see how many (strikeouts) I can get, but I don’t care if they strikeout or ground out as long as we get the out.”
Chapman is being courted by several colleges including Marietta, Transylvania and West Liberty. She is undecided on her choice, but she is excited about the opportunity.
“I think I can play anywhere. It’ll be tougher, but I’ll do okay,” said Chapman.
Chesapeake head coach Aaron Rice said Chapman is a technician, not just a thrower on the mound. He, too, thinks Chapman will excel at the next level.
“She understands pitching. She understands changing speeds and she knows how to locate. That’s how she’s ahead of other kids,” said Rice.
“It helps to be left-handed. Batters aren’t used to seeing it coming from the left side.”
Chapman has been in close games and blowouts and she said it really doesn’t matter to her. She just likes the competitiveness of the game.
“I think it’s fun doing that (being in tight game), but it’s nice to win by a bunch, too,” Chapman said.
Chapman broke her leg last summer and Rice said the injury didn’t allow her to get the off-season work she normally does.
“That kind of set her back a little bit. She’s one of those players who works year-round. She continued to work hard on pitching and that was a mild setback even though she was cleared to play other sports,” said Rice.
“You can still see signs at times, but she continues to work hard. That’s all she’s ever done.”
Chapman said the leg injury was a problem before, but that she doesn’t feel “much of an effect. We’re just playing better teams, tougher teams.”
While Rice can teach pitching, his assistant coach Jerry Frye has also worked with the team’s pitchers over the years including his own daughters Kim and April. Chapman said the two coaches have been invaluable to her development.
“(Coach Rice) has helped a lot and so does Jerry Frye. They talk a lot of strategy,” said Chapman.
“I know pretty much every pitch (coach Rice) is going to call after watching him for four years,” said Chapman.
And the one pitch she likes for coach Rice to call is strike three.