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2019 All-Metro softball Player of the Year: Haley Downin, Chesapeake-AA

2019 All-Metro softball Player of the Year: Haley Downin, Chesapeake-AA
From humble beginnings in the circle, Chesapeake ace Haley Downin blossomed into one of the most dangerous pitchers in Maryland, let alone Anne Arundel County, to become The Baltimore Sun All-Metro softball Player of the Year. (Paul W. Gillespie / Capital Gazette)

Chesapeake-AA senior Haley Downin never expected to become a pitcher, let alone one that would go on to set 13 school records and one state mark, driving her Cougars softball team to the Class 3A state championship game this spring.

But four years ago, Chesapeake needed a pitcher. Before the spring, longtime coach Don Ellenberger implored Downin, an infielder who had some pitching experience as a youth, to take to the circle.

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From those humble beginnings, Downin blossomed into one of the most dangerous pitchers in Maryland.

A three-sport athlete who also plays basketball and soccer, Downin finished her career as the program record-holder in at-bats in a season (92, tied), career at-bats (337), runs in a season (51), runs in a career (145), hits in a season (61), hits in a career (176), doubles in a season (14), batting average in a season (.663), batting average in a career (.522), games pitched in a career (82), games won in a career (66), innings pitched in a career (499) and doubles in a career (44).

Downin surpassed the 43-doubles mark of Lindsey Schmeiser, who played for Northern-Calvert from 2009 to 2012.

Eight of the records Downin shattered once belonged to former national team player Lauren Gibson.

“I think everyone aspires to be like Lauren Gibson because she's such an amazing player and a great role model and everything,” she said. “To actually reach those goals is a really cool thing because then a lot of people start to compare you to them and you become the next role model for people to look up to.”

Downin, a three-time All-Anne Arundel County first-team selection and the 2019 Capital Gazette Softball Player of the Year, made her senior season her best from the rubber. With an 18-4 record and a career-best 1.18 ERA, the senior had 173 strikeouts, allowing 86 hits and 27 walks.

Of her four losses, two were in International Tie Breaker situations.

She also batted .511 with 45 hits, 13 doubles, a pair of triples and home runs, as well as 22 RBIs.

“Most coaches in their coaching lifetime get, if they're fortunate, one great player,” said Ellenberger, who also coached Gibson 10 years ago. “Somehow, I guess I've been around long enough to get No. 2, and that's Haley.”

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