By BILLY HEYEN
The Section V softball season is on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and one particular chase for a section and state record may not happen now. It’s as good a time as any to dig into the Section V softball record book to remember some of the best players in local history.
Below, you’ll find single-game, single-season and career records, with an attempt to determine how likely each record is to stand the test of time. And if you’re looking for the most unbreakable record in Section V history, spoiler: You’ll have to make it all the way to the bottom of the article.
Note: The NYSPHSAA record book and Section V record book have not received exactly the same entries, so the below attempts to combine their information where possible.
|Number of home runs||Player||School||Date|
|3||Mari Spitz||Honeoye Falls-Lima||5/17/18|
There’s been one five-HR game and one additional four-HR game in state history, but neither by a Section V player. If anyone was going to do it, it might’ve been Falk, who went on to play at Division I powerhouse Michigan. But there was no secret about her power, which meant being frequently pitched around, one of the biggest detriments to hitting four home runs in a seven-inning game.
This is a power-packed list, though, regardless of if anyone can break this record. DiMartino eventually transferred to Brockport, where she continued her career as one of the best pitchers in Section V history before starring collegiately at Liberty. McLaughlin went on to shine at Division II Gannon, where she’s in the athletics hall of fame. And Spitz is still at HF-L, only a junior, hoping for a chance to get on the field and tie or break her own record.
Most grand slams
|Number of grand slams||Player||School||Date|
You’ll see Burke’s name a number of more times on this list, as she’s one of the best performers in Section V history. But the reason this table makes it into this article is Lorsbaugh’s accomplishment: She hit both of her grand slams in the same inning.
It definitely seems unlikely that a hitter would become the fifth player in Section V history to go deep three times in the same game and have all three homers be grand slams. But it’s nearly impossible that Lorsbaugh’s two slams in an inning will ever be topped.
Lorsbaugh also racked up a Wellsville-record 48 wins in the circle during her three-year varsity career, according to the Wellsville Daily Reporter.
Most strikeouts (7-inning game)
|Number of strikeouts||Player||School||Year|
|22||Veronica Maher||Warsaw||1995, 1998|
|20||Emily Phelan||Greece Olympia||2016|
As Maher proved by striking out 22 in a game, there’s technically no cap on this record. Dropped third strikes can prolong innings and allow for more strikeouts. So a pitcher could break her record in the right circumstances.
What’s more astounding is that in the history of Section V softball, there have been two 22-strikeout seven-inning games, and both belong to Maher. That almost surely will never be touched.
It’s worth noting that in extra inning games, Keshequa’s Alexandrea Flint holds the record with 23 strikeouts. In extra innings, both DiMartino sisters have a 22 strikeout game, as do Eastridge’s Olivia Piacenti and Webster Thomas’ Holly Seidewand. Phelan struck out 21 in an extra-inning game for Olympia.
Highest batting average
|.778||Jessie Hammers||Wayland Cohocton||2016|
|.733||Courtney Case||Pittsford Mendon||2013|
|.720||Courtney Case||Pittsford Mendon||2012|
|.712||Bailey Minges||South Seneca||2017|
|.704||Courtney Case||Pittsford Mendon||2011|
|.700||McKenzie Kehlenbeck||Oakfield Alabama||2012|
If you think a .787 batting average is crazy, the rest of Walker’s senior-year stats are just as wild: a 1.909 slugging percentage, a .901 on-base percentage and a 0.84 earned run average, too. She reached base nine out of every 10 times she went to the plate. In her five-year varsity career, Gananda won three sectional titles. Walker now plays at Central Connecticut State.
It’s hard to imagine any player hitting .787 again, but Walker did it so recently that it doesn’t seem totally impossible. It’d probably take a Division I talent at a smaller school, as was Walker’s case, to have a chance. But even frozen ropes find gloves once in a while, so Walker’s record might not be going anywhere.
It’s also worth noting that at the time Burke batted .720, it was a recognized national high school record.
Note: Case’s 2012 wasn’t listed in the record books, but she recorded a .720 batting average in her All Greater Rochester Player of the Year season in 2012, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. And yes, it’s crazy that Case broke .700 three-straight years.
|Number of hits||Player||School||Year|
|62||Courtney Case||Pittsford Mendon||2011|
Coyle’s 64 hits in a season ranks tied for first in state history. She actually went to play volleyball at East Stroudsburg out of high school before returning closer to home and suiting up for SUNY Brockport softball in this shortened spring.
Beating that 64 hits mark would require essentially three hits per game all season, if you figure that the teams that make state tournament runs play a few more than 20 games. That’s not impossible, as Coyle proved, but it requires no off days and probably a willingness to be aggressive and not settle for walks.
|Number of doubles||Player||School||Year|
Ingalls’ name will get familiar on this list, especially as we move down into the pitching records. It seems like this season doubles mark should be one of the more breakable on the whole list, though. If a player could knock out one double a game for 20 games, that’d get it done.
The dimensions of a softball field don’t always lend themselves to doubles, though. Power hitters in high school will hit a lot of balls beyond the fence, and fast players often end up at third. There aren’t a ton of angles to gap balls and consistently hit doubles, but the right line-drive hitter could make a run at this Ingalls record.
|Number of triples||Player||School||Year|
Wouldn’t be a full Section V softball record without both DiMartino sisters making appearances. This is a crowded portion of the record book, with another two players having tripled nine times in a season. That shows that it’s possible for a fast, strong hitter to get to double-digit triples. But no one has been able to surpass the magic number 11.
The best chance would be for a state power’s leadoff hitter to be the one chasing the record, as it’d take a triple in about half of a final four team’s games to reach 12.
|Number of home runs||Player||School||Year|
|11||Hannah Catallo-Stooks||Pittsford Sutherland||2017|
Falk is the unquestioned home run champion of Section V softball, and for good reason. In addition to her two seasons at the top of the list here, she also hit 10 homers in 2012. It’s tough to argue Falk as the best hitter in Section V history.
It’s also tough to imagine that someone could reach Falk’s 19 homers from 2014. That’s basically a home run every game. And at that point, Falk was a known commodity who was frequently pitched around. If someone ever reaches those heights again, that’d be something.
|Number of RBIs||Player||School||Year|
|58||Hannah Catallo-Stooks||Pittsford Sutherland||2017|
Even in a dominant 2018 season, Coyle couldn’t reach Morris’ mark, which has stood for 39 years. Along with the luck-factor involved in RBIs, there’s the simple fact that reaching 69 in a season would require at least three per game. On a team with that many baserunners, it’s likely that more than one batter is driving in the runs.
Only one player in state history has tallied more than Morris’ 68 (Darleen Anderson of Bay Shore with 71 in 1991). The odds of a Section V player passing Morris are slim to none.
Most stolen bases
|Number of steals||Player||School||Year|
|41||Callie McCulley||Notre Dame-Batavia||2019|
Another Section V record that’s stood for decades, Hall’s stolen base total ranks second in state history. McCulley made the best run at it last season, but even she came up five steals short.
Because a player can’t leave the base until the release of the ball in softball, runners rarely attempt to steal third. That leaves someone hoping to break Hall’s record needing to be on first base at least twice a game without a runner on second while getting a good enough jump to beat a throw. Hall, like Morris above, might be safe in holding her record for another few decades.
|Number of strikeouts||Player||School||Year|
|358||Emily Phelan||Bishop Kearney||2017|
To understand the potential for breaking (or not breaking) Ingalls’ record, Phelan’s 2017 is as good a place to look as any. Bishop Kearney played as long as it could that season, claiming the Class C state title. Phelan pitched nearly every out of the season. She still came up three strikeouts shy of Ingalls’ mark. It’d take a truly magical season en route to a state championship for that record to be broken.
Ingalls, too, was a state champion in her record-setting season. She went on to star at Youngstown State as a left-handed hitter.
Lowest ERA (min. 75 innings)
|Earned run average||Player||School||Year|
To start off by pointing out the obvious: Technically, this record could be broken, but a pitcher would likely have to give up no earned runs all season to beat Ingalls’ 0.04. Next up, a joke: What an awful season Ingalls had in 2007, as her ERA was five-times higher than in 2006.
In all seriousness, these are remarkable pitching seasons. Balschmitter is Section V’s newest inductee to the New York State High School Softball Hall of Fame and is recognized as one of the hardest throwers in Section V history. If another pitcher came along that could rival these nearly-zero ERAs, that’d be quite the viewing experience.
Most perfect games
|Number of perfect games||Player||School||Year|
|3||Emily Phelan||Bishop Kearney||2017|
Sterman managed to throw the record-setting number of perfect games in a different season than she recorded her 0.14 ERA. Her time at Geneva included a state title in 1999, and she went on to pitch to a 1.55 ERA in four seasons at Cornell.
The trickiest part of a perfect game is, in a word, its perfection. There can’t be any errors, which are out of the pitcher’s control. There can’t be any walks, which is based exactly on a pitcher’s control. Topping Sterman’s mark of five perfect games in seasons that run about 20 games would be extraordinary.
When it comes to no-hitters, Phelan’s 2017 included a record nine. Sterman threw seven total no-hitters in that 2000 season.
|Number of hits||Player||School||Years|
|231||Courtney Case||Pittsford Mendon||2009-2013|
All indications would be that Burke’s record is untouchable. Case is one of the best pure Section V hitters in the last decade, and she fell 18 shy. Anderson and Falk are two of the best power-hit combos this decade, and they could only get within 40 hits.
So let’s appreciate Burke for a second. She’s now the head softball coach at Keuka College. She could hoop, too, scoring 2,458 points in her high school basketball career. And in case you didn’t notice, her name has been typed all over this article.
Burke also put the hits to good use in a long streak, hitting in 44 consecutive games from 1990-1992.
|Number of doubles||Player||School||Years|
|45||Vickie Switzer||Webster Schroeder||2007-2010|
To look at the great hitters below Weber is to realize how impressive it is that she’s eight doubles clear on this list of all players who have finished their careers. She did it in one fewer varsity season than a couple of those below her, too. The best chance of a player passing her would be six varsity seasons with an average of 10 doubles a year, which isn’t impossible, but would require some serious longevity and consistency.
After high school, Weber was twice an All-American playing for Genesee Community College.
Update: Papp’s 52 doubles with still time remaining in her high school career gives her a good chance of taking this record as her own.
|Number of triples||Player||School||Years|
Apparently 24 is the magic number that can’t be topped. Shorter power alleys on softball fields than baseball fields can limit the overall quantity of triples a player hits, but a five-year varsity speedster could hit five per season and claim the record.
Rollins went on to play collegiately at Alfred, where she tripled three times as a junior. DiMartino preceded her younger sister to Liberty as a pitcher. Cork played her college softball at SUNY Cortland, where she didn’t triple once as a senior in 150 at bats.
Most home runs
|Number of home runs||Player||School||Years|
There is no more dominant hold on a Section V record than Falk and the career home runs mark. It’s actually 10 shy of the state mark, but still second in New York history. A powerful left-handed hitter, Falk is likely safe at the top of this chart unless somebody decides to start moving fences in.
After high school, Falk went on to hit above .300 in all four of her seasons at Michigan. She hit 29 home runs for the Wolverines, too.
T2 | Michigan is on the board! Falk hammers an RBI double to the CF wall. Wald scores from first base, Falks advances to third on an errant throw.— Michigan Softball (@umichsoftball) April 6, 2018
Michigan 1, Penn State 0 pic.twitter.com/98u4ePMQqr
|Number of RBIs||Player||School||Years|
A lot of Burke’s records seem virtually untouchable, including this one. If players dotting the extra-base hit charts above, like Weber, Ingalls and Falk, can’t really sniff the 232 mark, what’s to suggest any future player could?
Even with a generous estimation of 120 games played across six varsity seasons, that still requires essentially two runs batted in every game to chase Burke’s mark. The odds of that happening are about as low as it gets.
Highest batting average (min. 100 at bats)
|.597||Courtney Case||Pittsford Mendon||2009-2013|
Hammers’ career average almost makes you do a double take. .697? Really? Yes, really. She hammered softballs all over the field in her time at Way-Co, and this surely isn’t the time that pun was used.
This is yet another record that doesn’t look breakable, but it was only recently that Hammers herself set it. So, maybe? If a player with Case’s hitting talent ended up at a smaller school, maybe? Most likely, no.
Fittingly, Hammers went on to play for Burke at Keuka in college. She’s hit a measly .452 in college.
Most stolen bases
|Number of stolen bases||Player||School||Years|
Holy cow. Scio went from Taylor to Calcagno to Peangatelli, with crossover periods. Imagine being an opposing catcher going up against Scio in those days. That couldn’t have been fun.
No one had approached Peangatelli’s mark since she set it, until Callaghan flew past it. So apparently it’s breakable, even though for a long time it didn’t seem at all likely to be passed. Callaghan went on to play soccer at the University of Buffalo after high school.
|Number of strikeouts||Player||School||Years|
|1421||Emily Phelan||Greece Olympia/Bishop Kearney||2015-Present|
|1381||Alissa Dixon||Webster Schroeder||2007-2012|
This record, unlike many, was all set up to be broken in 2020. Phelan has averaged more than 280 strikeouts per season, and with her senior year to go, needed 181 to become the strikeout record-holder in Section V and in New York state, too. But the COVID-19 pandemic has that opportunity in doubt.
Even if the season returns, there could be a compressed schedule that makes it tough for Phelan to seize the record before heading to St. Bonaventure in the fall. A shortened season could give Phelan a shot to move into second or third in state history, with players bove her to pass at 1,507 and 1,427 strikeouts.
|Earned run average||Player||School||Years|
|0.96||Holly Seidewand||Webster Thomas||2003-2006|
|0.99||Alissa Dixon||Webster Schroeder||2007-2010|
This is the first time that Lesczinski’s name has shown up here, and it’s for the very impressive all-time ERA record in Section V history. Of course, it could be broken, but only by a miniscule mark across a pitcher’s career.
Lesczinski went on to play at Cornell after graduating from Irondequoit, and she pitched one season there with a 4.46 ERA.
Most perfect games
|Number of perfect games||Player||School||Years|
Well, we found it, the most unbreakable record in Section V softball. Maher’s 27 perfect games (and her 27 no-hitters) are as stone cold a lock to never move out of the top spot in the record book. It’s actually tied for the national high school record, too.
Maher pitched to the tune of a 1.55 ERA at Canisius in college. The Buffalo News wrote an in-depth feature on her in 2002.