‘I don’t believe it’s real’: Ludlow softball captain surpasses 400 strikeouts
LUDLOW, MA. (WGGB/WSHM) - Maddie Sunderland and the Lions continue their stellar season, this week was also about milestones and the senior captain reached one of those while pitching.
The Ludlow High School girl’s softball team is enjoying a moment.
This as pitcher Maddie Sunderland accomplished a huge feat on Tuesday. Becoming the second player in program history to reach 400 strikeouts.
“I don’t believe it’s real,” said Sunderland. “I feel like I have been playing forever and that it’s just been a gradual thing. I play outside of high school, too, so everything kind of blurs together a little bit.”
Sunderland reached the mark in the lions’ 24-0 victory over Southwick.
With her teammates right behind her, and with the help of her signature pitch, the knuckle change-up, she shut the door on this milestone with authority.
Ludlow’s athletic director, Tim Brillo, has known the star pitcher since she was on the team in 7th grade, and could not be any prouder.
“It’s amazing in such a short period of time to accomplish something like that,” said Brillo. “Watching your pitch, especially that knuckle change that she has, she makes a lot of kids very off balanced in trying to swing on it. It’s been very impressive to watch her perform.”
The funny thing about this moment is Sunderland did not know what she had accomplished until she got back into the dugout at the end of the second inning.
“I was so focused on just doing good and performing for my team that when everyone started jumping up and going ‘YOU DID IT!’, And I was like ‘WHAAAT?!’ I just couldn’t believe it,” said Sunderland. “It was crazy.”
A cancelled 2020 season and a shortened 2021 stretch did not stop Sunderland one bit, with the senior currently averaging 11 strikeouts a game.
If all goes according to plan in the next three or four starts, she could break pass the school record of 456K’s, and claim the title of “Strikeout Queen.”
Brillo told Western Mass News he is hoping to see that happen.
“Julia Anneccherico, who set the record, kind of set a standard, and then the girls that were coming in had something to reach for,” said Brillo. “And they’ve accomplished it. It says a lot about how far we’ve come and the great job that our coaches have done.”
For Sunderland, though, she is putting milestones aside and keeping her head in the game.
“We’re all focused on getting our hits in and, of course, me getting more strikeouts,” said Sunderland. “We’re all just excited and ready to go.”
Sunderland thanks all of those who helped her over the years.
The senior hopes she and her teammates have a strong finish to the season and possibly have a state championship in their grasp before she continues her softball career at Bay Path University next year.
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