HAMPTON — The pros are obvious. Yet there are also cons, which under close inspection become just as clear.
For the first time in his coaching career, Kecoughtan's Mark Christman has two Division I pitchers on his roster: senior Allyson Babinsack and junior Maddy Morris. Both top 60 miles per hour on the radar gun and have nice movement on their pitches. Both have a penchant for the big stage.
So naturally, Christman loves having two kids with that kind of ability at the game's most dominant position. The problem is, there's only one circle. Instead of one pitcher posting big numbers, two must share them.
"Ideally, as a coach, you want to get your kids as much recognition as possible," Christman said. "All-district, Daily Press Player of the Year, that kind of stuff. And that's hard to do when you have more than one pitcher.
"It's easy when you have one because you only have to advocate for one. But it's hard to go in there at the end of the year with 10 different coaches and say, 'I have two first-team pitchers.'"
Christman could make that claim, at least in terms of talent. In her three seasons, Babinsack is 32-8. In her two seasons, Morris 18-8. This season alone, Babinsack (2-1) has 21 strikeouts in 10 innings. Morris (1-1) has 25 Ks in 15 innings.
"They're so close, it's really hard to compare the two," Christman said. "For years, I never had anyone throw 60 (mph) with that kind of movement. Both of those girls have a lot of movement on the ball."
This will come as no surprise: Each wants the ball in her hand every day. Christman knows that, respects that, and wouldn't have it any other way. They are competitors, after all. But each understands the situation, and neither complains about it.
"We both (want) to pitch every game," said Babinsack, who signed last fall with Hampton University. "But knowing I have Maddy behind me, that feels great. She always has me behind her. If we ever get in trouble, we have each other."
When Morris is pitching, Babinsack plays first base. When Babinsack is pitching, Morris is in right field. Christman said he has no specific formula regarding who pitches when, nor does he let them know until the morning of the game.
Christman does tend to go with Morris in the postseason. Counting the Peninsula District and Eastern Region tournament, Morris has pitched seven of the Warriors' eight playoff games over the last two seasons. Which doesn't necessarily mean that's how he'll approach it this year.
Morris has been known to take it up a notch in the postseason. As a freshman, she threw a perfect game against Warwick in the district semifinals to clinch a regional berth. A week later in the regionals, she struck out 17 in a win over Landstown.
As a sophomore, Morris struck out 24 in an 11-inning no-hitter — again against Warwick, again in the PD semifinals. A week later in the regionals, she had 11 Ks and shut out Granby.
Morris committed to Georgetown last fall. The Hoyas haven't had a winning season since the program's inception in 2006 (though they're currently 15-12). But for Morris, who wants to study law and be a prosecuting attorney, Georgetown was the perfect fit.
"I can play softball as long as I want, but I can't get a job playing softball," she said. "I've put forth the effort and I wanted to make sure it was good enough to get into a school like Georgetown."
Whether pitching or at first base, Babinsack has been the Warriors' best hitter. After four games, she has 13 hits in 16 at bats (.813) with two home runs and six RBI. For her career, she's hitting nearly .500 with 16 home runs.
HU interim coach Michael Pelegrino said Babinsack "has the potential to be a No. 1 pitcher." With her numbers, she should also have the potential to be a No. 3 hitter.
Next year, with Babinsack at HU, Morris will have the circle to herself. But for now, Kecoughtan will share that one-two punch Christman loves having, even if it's not always easy.
"They've both handled it very well," Christman said. "They've been playing long enough on different teams, so they know how it works."
Johnson can be reached by phone at 757-247-4649.Copyright © 2015, CT Now