Mariah Crisp has been doing something right for four years at Keene State College, and that something led her to a record breaking career.
On Saturday, March 25, the senior pitcher broke the all-time strikeout record at Keene State College, tallying 14 strikeouts in a complete-game no-hitter against Baruch College. Crisp led the Owls to a 25-0 win over the Bearcats.
Entering her senior campaign, Crisp was only 10 strikeouts away from beating the record, which was held by Ashlee Simpson ‘08. Crisp’s dominant performance against Baruch not only set the new record, but showed what Crisp has been all about since coming to KSC for her first year.
“She’s got an incredible gift, and she uses it,” said Carrah Fisk Hennessey, head coach of the KSC softball team. “She’s always been our ace on the field.”
“I’m relieved,” Crisp said, “It’s kind of like one of those things that I knew that I was going to eventually do.”
Crisp said she started playing softball when she was eight years old, but it wasn’t until she turned 10 that she realized her passion for pitching was where she would direct her attention. Crisp also said that while her original goal was to play Division I softball in college, she eventually decided to aim for Division III for numerous reasons. “I chose DIII and Keene was the perfect fit for me,” Crisp said.
Fisk Hennessey praised Crisp’s work ethic, saying that she is always working to get better and that she even picked up a new pitch in the offseason.
Junior captain Kayla Votto said the whole team felt the joy when Crisp finally reached the plateau. “I honestly thought it was amazing,” Votto said. She also referred to the team’s philosophy of celebrating each other’s accomplishments, or “ubuntu.” The term is something the softball team has been using this season to remind themselves to work and celebrate as a team, according to Votto.
“I think that the whole team, especially me and the seniors, seeing her break the strikeout record was just such an unbelievable accomplishment,” Votto said. “We almost felt like we achieved it just as much.”
Crisp attributes a large part of her success to her pitching coach and mentor Harold Sachs. Sachs is the head coach of Salem High School’s softball team in Salem, New Hampshire. “He has been my pitching coach since I was 12 and I learned everything from him. Not just softball, but he’s been like a mentor to me for life in general. I put a lot of credit to him for my success,” Crisp said. She also mentioned how her dad has pushed her to become the pitcher she is today.
Fisk Hennessey described Crisp as a pitcher that leads by example. Her quiet personality makes it so you don’t know what to expect, according to Fisk Hennessey, but once she gets on the mound she “mows batters down.”
When asked about this description of her playing style and personality, Crisp agreed. “That’s how I’ve always been,” Crisp said. “I’ve just always had a poker face, I’m very poised. When I’m in the circle I’m really comfortable. Everything just kind of flows and feels right when I’m in there.”
Crae can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org