Variety proves Huber's best pitch Softball: Severna Park senior expertly mixes 'rise ball' with fastball, curve, drop and changeup.

March 29, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Christy Huber is already the most feared high school softball pitcher in Anne Arundel County.

The Severna Park senior can throw 61 miles per hour.

That's the basic stuff.

Next comes a "rise ball" that is the talk of the county and makes a lot of good hitters look bad. It looks like a strike and rises quickly out of the strike zone.

If the hitters start timing those two pitches, Huber can come in with a curve ball, a drop or a changeup.

No wonder she has been the No. 1 pitcher for the Falcons since the third game of her freshman year and has compiled a 41-14 record, struck out 481 batters, walked 140, thrown 15 shutouts and has an 0.77 ERA through the first game of her senior year.

The girl can pitch.

Good enough to have already received a full scholarship to pitch for the University of Georgia, which will field its first softball team next season.

So what else does Huber have to accomplish in high school?

A lot, says the first-team All-Metro selection last year.

"I've been wanting to win a state championship [4A] since my freshman year when Chesapeake-AA beat us three times by one run, including once in the regional playoffs," said Huber. "Something always seemed to go wrong in all three of those games."

Chesapeake went on to win the state 4A title.

The bad luck in the playoffs continued through her sophomore and junior years, with Glen Burnie eliminating Severna Park, 6-1, last spring when Huber was a junior.

Now, she's down to one last chance.

"We're young and don't have a lot of experience but I think everyone wants to get better and our goal is to win a state championship in my last year," said the right-hander.

Huber and the Falcons paid for that inexperience in the season opener last week against two-time defending state 4A champion Northern of Calvert on the road.

Severna Park made four errors behind Huber and lost, 2-1, giving Northern two unearned runs and negating a splendid performance by Huber.

She struck out 10 Northern hitters and gave up just five hits.

It was a disappointing way to start the season but Huber wasn't discouraged.

"I think I did well against a team that is known for having a lot of good hitters," she said. "It was a cold day and I tried to keep warm by throwing extra warm-up pitches and wearing a lot of clothes."

Like all pitchers, Huber has a favorite pitch to get people out with and it's the rise ball.

"I throw it about one-third of the time," she said. "I mastered the rise my sophomore year while going to [Jack] Crandell and tTC [Paul] Tewey pitching camps. My natural arm motion is up, which makes it easier to throw the rise ball. The drop pitch is not natural for me."

Even though the Falcons' ace was an instant hit as a pitcher, she didn't become an outstanding fielding pitcher until her junior year.

"I wasn't getting ready to field the ball my first two years," said Huber.

Since replacing junior Jen Stampinato as the top gun on the Severna Park pitching staff three years ago, Huber's stats have been amazingly consistent.

As a freshman, she was 12-4 with 140 strikeouts, 50 walks, five shutouts and an ERA of 0.75.

In her sophomore season, Huber put together a 15-5 record, 156 strikeouts, 60 walks, five shutouts and 0.85 ERA.

Then last year, the Huber line went 14-4, 175 strikeouts, 30 walks, five shutouts and a 0.73 ERA.

"She's a complete pitcher," said Severna Park coach Wayne Mook who decided to give Huber the ball almost every game the Falcons have played since that third game of her freshman year. "She has good control of all her pitches. In her freshman year, the fast ball was her only pitch but we made sure she had a changeup and drop her sophomore year and she also picked up the riser and curve."

With all the new pitches in her repertoire as a sophomore, Huber walked a few more batters than her freshman year but her strikeouts and wins were up.

"I have good control most of the time," she said. "And it makes me feel good to have people recognize me for my accomplishments. It makes all the hard work worthwhile."

So why Georgia?

"I met their coach [Ilene Berkey] when I was 12 years old and attending a pitching clinic at Furman University," said Huber. "She sold me on the idea that I would be playing on a team to wear the Georgia softball uniform for the first time and possibly score the first run or win the first game for the school. Also, Natalie Price from Bishop O'Connell [Va.] is going down there with me."

Pub Date: 3/29/96

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