Nitro’s Lena Elkins named state’s top softball pitcher

Nitro's Lena Elkins is this year's Pitcher of the Year after finishing 21-5 with a 0.84 ERA and 337 strikeouts. Photo courtesy of the Charleston Gazette-Mail

Nitro train Caiti Mathes understands a bit regarding terrific prep softball players.

Just three years eliminated from a state gamer of the year award at Typhoon, Mathes– the state’s occupation (57) and single-season (22) crowning achievement record owner– found herself on the other side of points this season. And also even after using 4 state-championship groups in secondary school, Mathes said Nitro bottle Lena Elkins was various entirely.

The numbers certainly back that up as Elkins tossed just about 1 1/3 of her group’s innings, logging 182 2/3 frameworks while going 21-5 with a 0.84 period and also 337 strikeouts. Those contributions to a Wildcat team that made the front runner in a rugged Course AA Region 4 Area 1 area helped make her the state’s Bottle of the Year Honor as voted on by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

Elkins slipped by Shady Springtime’s Paige Maynard and Wahama’s Mikie Lieving for the inaugural honor as the state gamer of the year award divided into separate accolades for a pitcher as well as a hitter.

The Wildcats’ trip turned up a big except a state title as they bailed out in a winner-take-all sectional tilt versus Winfield, yet to Mathes, that didn’t decrease the value of anything Elkins had the ability to do along the way.

” Lena played like I have actually never seen any individual play in the past,” Mathes said. “She was a monster in the circle. She was there for all of us season long.

” She is among the most effective players to ever come through the state of West Virginia. She isn’t your common athlete, she is something special that really few get the honor to be around or coach. She’s an outstanding athlete however an even much better person and I was grateful to play a little component in her career.”

That profession will certainly drop as one of the most effective in the history of Nitro Senior high school, specifically considering a second-team, All-State football nod (West Virginia trains organization team) and a women basketball state champion in 2021.

The Charlotte-signee grabbed her 3rd first-team, All-State softball selection this year in as lots of seasons (the 2020 period was terminated because of the COVID-19 pandemic) as well as though Elkins was a variable from the start, never ever before was she asked to carry so much of the load. With Bella Savilla having finished in 2021, Elkins recognized the concern would be great this year and also started her preparation in the offseason.

” I did a great deal even more work in the offseason than I did last year,” Elkins said. “I serviced hitting spots, relocating pitches– just throwing my curveball one sphere off the plate, 2 spheres off home plate, striking areas like that. I likewise worked with my changeup, I required to hide it much better. Simply extra preparation.”

Blinking four pitches– changeup, curveball, riseball and heater with the ability to put decline on the last– Elkins piled up 12 shutouts consisting of 2 over Winfield as well as Independence in the normal period as well as one each versus the similarity Sissonville and also Cyclone. Mixed in as well was a 5-2 triumph over eventual-state champion Herbert Hoover.

Elkins registered 10 or even more strikeouts in 22 of 27 games this year as well as she relatively conserved her finest for clutch scenarios. In those competitions, Elkins punched out a combined 65 batters while walking eight and also permitting 11 hits.

” She understood she was going to have to pitch ever before game as well as she came in with the right mindset knowing she had to have the team’s back,” Mathes said. We had confidence in Lena all year long, no matter what.”

While the numbers accumulated, Elkins stayed focused on losses and also wins.

” I didn’t try to consider anything,” Elkins stated. “My daddy would certainly let me recognize– he’s proud of me, so he would just tell me. Someone informed me during the initial Poca video game that I would certainly damaged the institution record [for strikeouts] I had no idea.”

And also generally throughout her four years in sports, Nitro did win. More than strikeout-to-walk ratio or WHIP, it’s those success that Elkins claimed she really hopes people remember her as well as her fellow seniors by.

” I just wish individuals see we left it much better than we discovered it,” Elkins stated. “Our entire class, we transformed sporting activities at Nitro Secondary school.”

” I did a lot more work in the offseason than I did last year,” Elkins claimed. Elkins registered 10 or more strikeouts in 22 of 27 games this year and also she relatively conserved her finest for clutch circumstances. In those contests, Elkins punched out an incorporated 65 batters while strolling eight and also permitting 11 hits.

” She understood she was going to have to pitch ever before game and she came in with the appropriate frame of mind recognizing she had to have the team’s back,” Mathes claimed.” I really did not try to look at anything,” Elkins said.

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