Softball: Groveport Madison Cruisers' Kendyll Cahill dominant at plate, in circle

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Groveport's Kendyll Cahill has put up impressive numbers at the plate and in the circle. The senior was hitting .479 with six home runs and 17 RBI through 17 games and had 174 strikeouts against just 10 walks with a 3.12 ERA in 16 starts.

Kendyll Cahill writes and bats left-handed, the side she said is dominant but quickly adds “isn’t that strong.”

The junior pitcher for the Groveport Madison softball team originally planned to also pitch from that side, but those plans changed shortly after she took up the game in elementary school.

“I was going to (pitch) left-handed, but my dad said I threw harder with my right hand. I always wanted to be a pitcher, anyway,” Cahill said. “I didn’t like any other position, but I can play other ones.”

Cahill has been tormenting opponents all season with both her bat and arm. She was hitting .479 with 23 hits, six home runs and 17 RBI through 17 games and had thrown all but nine innings in that span, racking up 174 strikeouts against just 10 walks with a 3.12 ERA in 16 appearances, all starts.

Her first career perfect game came April 12 against Reynoldsburg, when she struck out 12 and hit a two-run home run in a 10-0, five-inning victory in the OCC-Buckeye Division opener for both teams.

Groveport was 7-10 overall and 2-1 in the league before playing Pickerington Central on April 23.

“I like to be dominant on the mound and strike out as many girls as I can so we don’t have to score a lot of runs and there’s not as much pressure on the offense,” said Cahill, who had nine double-digit strikeout games before April 21. “I’ve always had that mindset of being confident in myself and relying on my best pitches. I want to be very good with the pitches I throw.”

Cahill was a designated hitter and right fielder as a freshman in 2019. Last year, the plan was for her to be back up then-senior Ally Maddy in the circle before the season was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Cahill had drawn 12 walks through 16 games, most of them intentional.

“A couple teams (walked her) after she hit two home runs off them, then they put her on,” coach Chris Downing said. “Part of it is because they don’t know her stats, that she’s capable of hitting home runs. If they knew her stats, they might be more aware of what she’s capable of. 

“That could be an advantage for her this year. That and we didn’t play last year, so everybody is catching up and maybe they’d have known they’d have to watch out for her.”

Groveport wraps up a scheduled stretch of six consecutive OCC-Buckeye games April 29 at home against Lancaster. The Cruisers entered the season seeking their third consecutive league championship, all of which came in the OCC-Capital, and will try to improve on a run to a Division I district semifinal in 2019.

The district tournament draw is May 2.

“I like being depended on. I don’t want to let anybody down. If I pitch well, I think we have a chance to win games,” said Cahill, who hopes to play in college but has not received any offers. “I’m confident when I go in the (batter’s) box. I have a mindset and make sure I have a plan when I go up to the plate. You mature into (that approach).”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave