Cassidy Graham is a creative teenager.
In her free time, she enjoys making pottery and jewelry. When she’s on the mound, the Pocono Pride pitcher is just as creative with her six pitches.
Graham, a 16-year-old from Exeter, was named the Most Outstanding Pitcher at the USSSA National Championships Northeast as the Pocono Pride 18U Gold team placed second. Graham appeared in the circle in 11 of 15 games in the tournament that was held at the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex in Salisbury, Md.
In the championship game, the Pride, based out of Mount Pocono, fell to the New Jersey Breakers, 6-5. Graham’s second place finish meant a lot.
“It was one of the best feelings ever,” she said. “I would have loved first place but we worked so hard, especially playing in the heat with five games in a row. It was a really successful season.”
This season, the Pride finished 35-8 overall with a 12-3 record within the division. In the national tournament, Graham pitched 59 innings and struck out 46 batters. She finished the tourney with a 2.42 ERA with just nine walks.
The Pride scored 123 runs and allowed just 38 on their way to the runner-up finish.
Graham and her family decided on Wyoming Seminary a few years back when she was awarded financial help. The family said they couldn’t pass up the opportunity. On the diamond, Graham started 16 games for Wyoming Seminary this past season as a sophomore. She finished the year with a 2.87 ERA as the Blue Knights finished 8-10.
Always being the youngest, the Exeter resident has been playing with the 18U team since she was 13. She’s always had to be as good as the next player, or better. Now, Graham throws her fastball around 60 mph and is working to improve over her next few seasons.
“I feel confident in the circle,” Grham said. “I feel like it’s my game when I’m out there. I throw a lot of junk and we mix it up a lot.”
The pitcher is looking forward to next season. But in her down time, when she’s not studying, the youngster is still in the game. She currently gives pitching lessons to pitchers around 10 years old, without accepting compensation. She does this as part of The Dugout softball clinic in Dallas, where she too learned to hone in her pitching skills.
Graham said she owes a big thanks to The Dugout owner Flossy Finn, her personal pitching coach Marge Kelly, and her Pocono Pride coach Dan Boccia.
“I love kids and I love being with them,” Graham said. “It’s so cute watching them succeed in what they want to do.”
Graham was that age once and she is no stranger when it comes to earning trophies and garnering success at a young age. As a member of the 2011 Greater Wyoming Area 9-10-year-old softball team, Graham and her teammates won the state championship and made a good showing at the East Regional.
When Graham isn’t being creative in the circle with her plethora of pitches, she likes to tap into her artistic side. Most of the year, she said, is dedicated to softball. The high school season starts in March, and playing for the Pride begins in May. To add to the weight, tryouts for the Pride begin in a few weeks.
At Wyoming Seminary, Graham is taking classes such as photography and ceramics. If it has something to do with creativity, she makes it. She even makes her own jewelry, which she wears often.
“I get bored when I don’t play and that helps,” she said. “I feel like I have to keep going because I hate taking long breaks from softball. I love being on the field. It’s like another home.”
Graham is the daughter of Brian and Marybeth Graham of Exeter. Her father is an assistant on Wyoming Seminary’s softball team. She hopes to continue her softball career in college. But first, she said, she’ll be focusing on school and softball.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick