Mumford and wonPublished 3:47pm Thursday, July 25, 2013
CHOCOWINITY — In the end, she saved her best for last.
After three years of dominance Southside ace Savannah Mumford proved just how much experience matters in her senior year as the Seahawks’ star ended illustrious career matching her top mark for wins with 18, while achieving a career-best .95 ERA en route to becoming the school’s all-time wins leader.
The grand finale marked the evolution of Mumford, who burst on to the scene as flame-throwing freshman but finished her career as a polished pitcher to win her fourth straight Washington Daily News Pitcher of the Year award.
“She’s just grown smarts-wise and pitching-wise,” Southside coach John Lohman said. “She was able to blow away batters with her fastball earlier (in her career), but later we went to the curve more … I think teams figured out that she was going to go to her fastball so we had to adjust what we were doing. We had to change our pitching to what was going on hitting-wise and I think the curveball was a lot more difficult for people to get a bat on.”
Mumford’s style has progressed so much that the future Pitt C.C. Bulldog said that this year the curve became her favorite pitch, something that would be hard to imagine four years ago.
“I had my curveball this year and we tried to mix it up more than we normally do,” Mumford said. “Just knowing the (hitters) and knowing what they like and being smarter helped. I tried to have more of a mental process and we talked a lot about pitching and how we would handle things.
“This year, when we faced a girl like (Riverside’s) Dasia (Moore) we figured that walking her might not be too bad, just don’t throw a meatball to hitters like that because maybe we can get a strike out after her.”
In her first year on varsity Mumford finished 18-5 with 165 strike outs and the game plan has been Mumford and won ever since for Lohman and his Seahawks.
“She was the heart-and-soul of the team. As Savannah goes, so goes the team,” Lohman said. “Having a pitcher like that is huge because it gives everybody confidence. All the players behind her know she’s probably going to get six, seven, eight or possibly double-digit strike out numbers.
“When that Southside bus rolls up and she walks off it teams know they got to be ready and that intimidation factor is huge.
“For me, it was a luxury and a privilege to call pitches and have a girl be able to execute them most of the time or come real close.”
As a sophomore, Mumford went 17-4 with 165 Ks. The next year she racked up a career-high 234 strikeouts and went 18-5 with a 1.35 ERA.
This season, Mumford again went 18-5, and while her strikeouts dipped to 177, her ERA shrank to .95, making her senior year her most affective.
As for the drop in punchouts, both Mumford and Lohman chalked it up to facing premium Four Rivers Conference lineups on a nightly basis.
“Pitching-wise, I think this was my best year,” Mumford said. “I didn’t strike out as many girls but I faced better hitters and more experienced hitters.
“… I think this year was the toughest year. Every team had more talent and every team was just stacked with hitters. … There were some (young players) that came in that were great in (Northside’s) Kendall (Alligood) and Kelsey (Lang). South Creek had some great hitters in Lauren Sitterson and Alexis Craft.”
Far from one-dimensional, Mumford was also an integral part of the Southside lineup. Batting in the leadoff spot Mumford hit .468 with two home runs and 14 stolen bases with an on-base percentage of .702 en route to being named the Four Rivers Conference Player of the Year.