According to the statistics compiled by the Pennsylvania High School Softball Coaches Association, Maddy Grimm received more than 20 intentional walks during her senior season for Ligonier Valley.
Grimm, The Tribune-Democrat Girls’ Athlete of the Year who will play softball at Kent State, isn’t sure the number is that high (the actual number is 18), but she readily admits teams didn’t always give her an opportunity to swing her highly productive bat.
“Teams would start out pitching to me, but if I did hit well in the first at-bat, they would start intentionally walking me,” Grimm said Friday afternoon. “It got frustrating sometimes, but I got used to it after a while.”
Ligonier Valley certainly became accustomed to Grimm’s standout work at the plate and at shortstop, where she spent four years as a starter. It didn’t take long for others to notice, and Grimm capped her extraordinary scholastic career with one last honor as she was selected to the PHSSBC Class AA All-State first team.
Grimm was one of four players from The Tribune-Democrat coverage area to earn all-state honors.
Chestnut Ridge senior Bridgit Yothers struck out 126 in 116 innings and added 14 extra-base hits for the District 5 Class AA champion, which had its season end in the first round of the PIAA playoffs against Ligonier Valley. Also selected to the Class AA team as a pitcher was Penn Cambria junior Kelly Yusko, who keyed the Panthers’ run to their first Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference championship.
Portage senior outfielder Emily McCabe, who batted over .400, earned a spot on the Class A team.
Grimm batted .589 (33-for-58) as a senior with a ridiculous .721 on-base percentage thanks to those 18 intentional walks. She belted nine home runs to go with 28 RBI, 35 runs and 16 extra-base hits. For her career, Grimm smacked 39 home runs, 28 doubles and 15 triples with a .561 batting average (142-for-253), 1.239 slugging percentage, 143 RBI and 157 runs scored.
“It was a matter of taking practice seriously and practice after you were done with the team,” said Grimm, who is playing a few tournaments with the Pittsburgh Spirit travel team this summer before departing for Kent State in late August. “When I was younger, I played softball more often, but it’s pretty much been year-round for me. I made sure to practice one to two times per week.”
Ligonier Valley’s season ended in the second round of the PIAA playoffs with a loss to District 7 power Riverside. It marked the second time Ligonier Valley qualified for the state tournament during Grimm’s four years. The other appearance happened in 2010.
“Playing in championship games and playoff games was always more important and memorable to me than any records or stats,” Grimm said. “We were always looking to win districts and make it to states. It was fun to be part of teams that were able to challenge for that.”