Guest Post: Megan Good Is a Machine
Brian Hansen knows way more about softball then we do, so he offered to write a guest post that did JMU’s wonderful softball team justice. We hope you enjoy it.
Megan Good is incredible. This season, she has pitched in 16 games and given up runs in two of them. Her 145 to 16 strikeout to walk ratio in 104.0 innings shows just how well rounded she is and her 11 shutouts is already a JMU single-season record and conference play hasn’t even started yet. With that in mind, I decided to take a crack at ranking the 10 best pitchers in CAA history to try to help some softball newbies learn more about CAA softball.
Grains of Salt: A couple of pretty big grains of salt with this list. First, while I’ve seen a lot of CAA softball over the years, I worked with and saw the JMU team the most and so I’m a homer and partial to them (in fact, I wanted to make this list a top 11 just so I could put Heather Kiefer on it). Second, I didn’t start watching CAA softball until 2007 and so I don’t have much to go on with the players in the early days of CAA softball. It is almost a certainty I’m a missing someone from that era that is better than I could know. Also, this is a pitching specific list, so offensive impact was not weighed, only the impact of players in the circle. Finally, smart and reasonable people could certainly pick this apart and come up with something that looks completely different, but hopefully you’ll enjoy the list.
Honorable Mentions: Becky Anderson (George Mason); Madi Gore (Georgia State); Heather Kiefer (JMU); McCall Langford (Georgia State); Morgan Lashley (Hofstra); Katie Lingmai (Towson); Missy McCormick (Towson)
- Jenny Clohan, JMU (2006-09)
Notable Awards: All-CAA, CAA 25th Anniversary Team, CAA Champion
Aside from the top three pitchers on this list, Clohan may have the most impressive season of any of the other pitchers when in 2007 she posted a 1.21 ERA. When her changeup was going, it was as good a pitch as anyone had.
- Carolynn Sloat, Delaware (2004-07)
Notable Awards: All-CAA, CAA 25th Anniversary Team
This is one of the players on the list that I never got to see pitch and don’t actually know much about. That being said, she did make the CAA Silver Anniversary team that was voted on by coaches and administrators who saw a lot more CAA softball than I did and I’ll defer to them and add her to the list.
- Jessica Wides, Towson (2002-05)
Notable Awards: CAA Pitcher of the Year, 2x All-CAA, CAA 25th Anniversary Team
Another pitcher I never got to see play. She was named to the CAA 25th Anniversary Team and was the conference’s first-ever CAA Pitcher of the Year.
- Elizabeth Hyman, Georgia State (2005-06)
Notable Awards: CAA Pitcher of the Year, All-CAA, CAA 25th Anniversary Team
It appears she only played two years in the CAA, but put up some pretty big numbers in those two years. Hyman struck out 260 batters in 2006 and 492 in her CAA career. Led a Georgia State team that became the first to win a CAA regular season crown besides Hofstra and took the Pride to the limit at the 2006 CAA Championship.
- Callie Osborne, Hofstra (2004-05)
Notable Awards: 2x CAA Pitcher of the Year, 2x All-CAA, CAA 25th Anniversary Team, 2x CAA Champion
In my opinion, this is where the true cream of the crop starts for the CAA pitchers. I never saw Osborne pitch, but she was the first two-time winner of CAA Pitcher of the year and helped carry a Hofstra team that became the first 7-seed (this was back when NCAA softball regionals went eight teams deep and the winner of each regional advanced to the College World Series) to reach a NCAA regional final. The Pride won four NCAA tournament games in 2004 and two more in 2005. In 2004, she went 12-3 with a 0.79 ERA and limited opposing hitters to a .197 batting average against.
- Meredith Felts, JMU (2006-09)
Notable Awards: 3x All-CAA, CAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, CAA 25th Anniversary team.
Narrowly edges out Callie Osborne for two reasons. First, Osborne only played two season at Hofstra best I can tell and secondly, I actually saw Felts pitch and I have a good feel for just how good she was. The only reason Felts didn’t win a CAA Pitcher of the year or two was Kayleigh Lotti dominating the league for all four years that Felts was at JMU. Felts combined with Jenny Clohan to give the Dukes a really good 1-2 combination in the circle and led them to the 2009 CAA Championship. The combination of Felts’ fastball and Clohan’s changeup mystified lineups for four years there.
- Kayleigh Lotti, Hofstra (2006-09)
Notable Awards: 3x CAA Pitcher of the Year, 3x CAA Champion
Threw a lot of innings for a Hofstra team that just owned the CAA during her reign. She won 82 games and the most impressive thing I saw her do was in 2008 when she pitched both ends of a double header in the CAA Championship round. That year, JMU took down the Pride in their first meeting of the double-elimination tournament meaning Hofstra need to beat the Dukes twice on the final day to retain their crown. On that day she threw 18 innings of one-run ball (which came when she gave up a home run to the second batter of the day), including a one-hit shutout in the rubber match to secure the CAA title. She pitched on the brink all day and never blinked.
- Megan Good, JMU (2015-pres.)
Notable Awards: All-American, 2x CAA Pitcher of the Year, CAA Rookie of the Year, CAA Champion
This might be a little bit surprising to some, considering the praise I lavished on Good to open this post. That being said, I have to judge Good on an incomplete career whereas the top two on the list have both exhausted their eligibility. As such, Good will probably pass one or both of them in my mind by the end of her career, but she isn’t quite there yet. That being said, Good career numbers are insane: 77-6, 0.83 ERA, 566 strikeouts in 513 innings pitched, a .147 opponent batting average and 27 shutouts. She was fantastic last year against LSU, getting the team as close as you can come to a World Series and has just as good a chance this year of getting the Dukes to the final eight. Considering the top two on this list there isn’t any shame to being listed third. Side note: considering the CAA only started sponsoring softball in 2002 there probably aren’t many conferences outside of the autonomous five that can claim a better top three pitchers all time.
- Jailyn Ford, JMU (2013-16)
Notable Awards: All-American, CAA Pitcher of the Year, CAA Rookie of the Year, 2x CAA Champion, National Pro Fastpitch League Draft Pick
I can’t really make a statistical argument for Ford above Good, but I will make my argument by saying no one rose to the challenge of a big game like Jailyn Ford. I also know I said that this list was based on pitching only, but if this was a best player of all-time in the CAA, Ford would be number one, followed closely by Galati, Good and Ashley Burnham. Ford’s curveball is up there amongst the best pitches I’ve seen in the CAA and her leadership (along with Erica Field and Hannah Hayes) is what the current dominance of JMU softball is built on. I couldn’t put her lower than second even though, I think Megan has the better statistical argument. That being said, Ford’s career numbers are pretty impressive as well: 82-21, 1.51 ERA, 815 strikeouts in 706.1 innings pitched and a .180 batting average against. I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing her name in the JMU Hall of Fame when she becomes eligible and she is every bit deserving.
- Olivia Galati, Hofstra (2010-13)
Notable Awards: All-American, 4x CAA Pitcher of the Year, CAA Rookie of the Year, 3x CAA Champion, National Pro Fastpitch League Draft Pick
Galati carried Hofstra to within one game of the World Series in 2012 and she did it with the most complete arsenal of weapons of any pitcher I’ve ever seen. She had command of the strike zone and could get a batter out with a complete variety of pitches. When Lotti graduated Hofstra in 2009, I thought there would be an opening for JMU to grab control of the conference, but that door quickly slammed shut the first time I saw Galati pitch. She was a dominating as any pitcher I’ve seen outside of the all-time greats like Monica Abbot, Angela Tincher, Jennie Finch, Keilani Ricketts … etcs.
So from this list you can probably guess why only one team (2011 Georgia State) has won a CAA softball championship besides Hofstra or JMU. A great pitcher can carry you a long way in softball and Megan Good is currently putting together a Women’s College World Series-worthy season.