Boston High School: Tate Hartmann
May, 28, 2011
By Marc Thaler | ESPNBoston.com
Round-trippers that clear the fence at Campbell High are a rarity. They're so rare, in fact, that nobody associated with the Litchfield school's softball program remembers a single batter going yard.
Correction: Nobody remembers a single batter going yard before May 13.
That's when sophomore designated hitter Chelsea Caynon slugged her way to a career-defining contest. Her 3-for-4 day at the dish included three towering home runs tagged in consecutive at-bats.
“I kind of thought all of them were lucky because nobody has done it before,” Caynon of her Friday the 13th fireworks, the last of which was a walk-off that clinched a 13-1 Division III mercy win over Alton's Prospect Mountain High.
Caynon said she was mobbed by teammates after circling the bases for the third time. Her last blast, in the fifth inning, capped Campbell's 13-run outburst over three frames.
Campbell's No. 3 hitter connected in the third, fourth and fifth innings and knocked in five runs. The lasers all landed in the same spot, well beyond the left-field fence stationed 250 feet from home plate.
Coach Laurie Gatherum, in her sixth year at the helm, estimated the shots sailed 260 feet.
“When Chelsea comes up to bat, I get as far away from the third-base box as I can. She's come close to killing me. She's a dead-pull hitter,” Gatherum said. “I get as close to the out-of-play line as possible.
“I almost want to warn the third baseman to back up. If she gets a piece of the ball, it's going.”
Caynon's powerful performance actually carried into her next game. She went 1-for-3 with a homer against Hopkinton High, giving her four taters in a span of seven at-bats.
But Caynon isn't a stereotypical all-or-nothing power hitter. She closed the regular season with one strikeout in 64 plate appearances.
She also posted a .500 average (28-for-56) with eight walks, five home runs, one triple, 10 doubles, 25 runs scored and 32 RBI. Her production helped the Cougars clinch first place with a 15-1 record.
“I would say she is the best hitter that the program has ever had, as far as consistency and power,” Gatherum said.
That's saying something. Caynon is, after all, just a sophomore.
“I wasn't really trying to hit three in row,” she said. “I was just waiting for my pitch.”