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Pitkin caps softball career being named Times All-North FL MVP

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GLEN PARK — Katie Pitkin’s demeanor rarely changes when she’s in the pitching circle.

It didn’t matter if the General Brown senior was throwing one-hitters and two-hitters against league powerhouses Sandy Creek and South Jefferson or pitching in one of the Lions’ nine wins by 10 runs or more.

Calm and steady, Pitkin pitched and hit the Lions to a 16-2 season with a 15-1 record in the Frontier League and its second “B” Division title in the last three years.

For her efforts, Pitkin is the 2014 Times All-North Most Valuable Player for Frontier League softball.

The five-year varsity player said her ability to focus and keep an even keel was her biggest improvement from past seasons.

“My mentality on the mound (improved),” Pitkin said. “I tried to focus more on the batters and not the runners on base. I just tried to focus on getting outs and not worry about anything else.”

Pitkin finished the season with a 14-2 record, a 0.79 earned-run average and 149 strikeouts for an average of 10.8 Ks per game.

In a condensed season because of lingering winter weather, Pitkin started 16 of the team’s 18 games in the pitching circle and started both ends of a doubleheader on three occasions.

Pitkin threw two no-hitters, six shutouts and 13 complete games.

“She’s very competitive but she doesn’t really externalize it, she keeps it internal so you never know how much the pressure is hitting her,” said General Brown coach Darrin Pitkin, Katie’s father.

“But she does a good job and seems to be able to come through when we really need her, and I think that was a big part of our team success this year.”

Katie Pitkin said the highlight of her season was a six-day stretch in mid-May where she collected five wins, three of which essentially deemed General Brown’s season a success.

Pitkin threw a one-hitter against South Lewis, a two-hitter to knock off previously unbeaten Sandy Creek, and another one-hitter to secure a victory over league rival South Jefferson.

Sandwiched between those three huge victories, Pitkin pitched a pair of complete games to lead the Lions past Carthage and Immaculate Heart Central.

“It was tiring but I got through it,” Pitkin said. “I always want to be in the (pitching) circle because I feel more in control and feel like I can control the game’s outcome. … Back in eighth-grade, I remember I was afraid to go out on the mound every game with all the older girls around.”

Pitkin said one of the stimuli for her productive year was a 10-5 loss to South Jefferson in the team’s second game of the year.

In a rare showing of emotion afterward, Darrin Pitkin said Katie addressed her teammates and said she didn’t pitch well enough for them to win.

“It put the rest of our season into perspective for me,” Katie Pitkin said. “I didn’t want that to happen again in the season and I was pretty determined to make it not happen.”

General Brown didn’t suffer another defeat until losing to Adirondack, 6-5, in the Section 3 Class B semifinals.

“That (South Jefferson loss) bothered her and we saw a total change in her,” Darrin Pitkin said. “From that point on when she took that mound, it was business and she knew it was business. I think that transformed her whole season.”

Pitkin, who will pitch at Division III SUNY Cortland next year, finished her five-year varsity career with 575 strikeouts. She pitched in 54 games and boasts a 44-10 career record and 0.97 ERA.

This season, Pitkin also drove in a team-high 27 runs and hit for a .435 average.

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