Softball: Elgin’s Hannah Perryman is Player of the Year
By Gene Chamberlain For Sun-Times Media June 20, 2012 4:16PM
Elgin's Hannah Perryman is the 2012 Courier-News Player of the Year after striking out 372 batters in 176 innings this spring. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media
Player of the Year Honor Roll
1987 — Jeaneen Turner, Dundee-Crown
1988 — Becky Zang, St. Edward
1989 — Chris Francke, Streamwood
1990 — Mandy Clothier, Genoa-Kingston
1991 — Jennifer Parks, Elgin
1992 — Anne Vogt, Larkin
1993 — Katy Carter, Larkin
1994 — Katy Carter, Larkin
1995 — Andrea Andrews, Marengo
1996 — Carina Macias, Burlington Central
1997 — Stacy Nagel, Larkin
1998 — Heather Wendt, Burlington Central
1999 — Stacy Nagel, Larkin
2000 — Erin Kieser, Larkin
2001 — Kim Dean, Larkin
2002 — Lauren Morstad, Larkin
2003 — Lindsey Hall, Larkin
2004 — Lissa Fehlman, St. Edward
2005 — Lissa Fehlman, St. Edward
2006 — Corinne Dennison, Bartlett
2007 — Christine Holthus, Burlington Central
2008 — Kim Pierce, South Elgin
2009 — Kim Pierce, South Elgin
2010 — Taylor Russell, St. Charles North
2011 — Amanda Ciran, St. Charles North
2012 — Hannah Perryman, Elgin
Updated: June 20, 2012 11:29PM
Plenty of softball coaches like to see their pitchers throw to contact.
Elgin’s Hannah Perryman likes a different approach.
“Why let them hit it when you can just strike them out?” Perryman said.
Perryman pitched 176 innings in 2012 as a senior and struck out 372. That’s 2.1 strikeouts per inning. The Missouri-St. Louis recruit became the area queen of “K” after maturing and improving her control, and as a result has been chosen The Courier-News Player of the Year.
Perhaps the most special “K” moment for the 5-foot-5 left-hander occurred in an April tournament at Prairie Ridge. Facing a Cary-Grove team that tied for a division title in the Fox Valley Conference, Perryman found herself one strikeout away from recording all 21 outs via strikeout.
“That team was stacked with hitters and I admit I was scared to face them at first,” she said. “I was out there striking people out and thinking, ‘this is strange, but I’ll take it,’ and them my mom said, you have 20 strikeouts and I was like, ‘no way, are you serious?’”
Instead, she got the last out on a ground ball for a two-hit shutout, then followed up the same day by striking out 19 Prairie Ridge batters in a one-hit victory.
“I still can’t believe I gave up that ground ball out after 20 strikeouts,” she said.
Perryman smashed Liz Waller’s 16-year-old school record of 322 strikeouts in a season and also set the school’s career strikeout record at 840.
Opposing hitters had only a .112 batting average against her and her earned run average was 1.31. Along the way, she was named Upstate Eight River pitcher of the year and was named to the Super 60 All-Star Game.
Many pitchers credit their defense for taking pressure off of them. With Perryman, it worked the other way.
“We definitely rode her success,” Elgin coach Chad Dahlman said. “Any time a pitcher is striking out 14 to 15 batters a game, it takes a lot of pressure off your defense.”
Perryman, who had a 17-9 record for the 20-12 Maroons, always had that blazing fastball — one of the fastest ever in The Courier-News area. She credited better control and improvement of her rise ball with helping her make a step up from a 10-5 record with 183 strikeouts and a 2.09 ERA as a junior.
“Finally, I wasn’t throwing balls all over the place,” Perryman said. “It was kind of like I knew what I was doing. With my rise ball, I felt like, ‘all right, I can throw this pitch.’ Where before that I was timid throwing it. It was moving more and was more effective.
“It helped having Kelly Bremer as my catcher. I knew she was going to catch it and I had confidence.”
Perryman began setting up hitters and striking them out in different ways.
“She got ahead of the hitters this year,” Dahlman said. “She wanted to throw her pitch, not the hitters’ pitch.”
Perryman credited a summer playing for the Lemont Rockers travel team for some of her improvement, but points to one particular person for making her high school career conclude the way she wanted — her father, Mark, who is currently a pitching coach for Carthage College.
“My dad has always been helping me, whether it’s just looking up different ways of doing things or showing me what I’m doing wrong,” Perryman said. “He’s a phenomenal teacher and has had the biggest impact on my pitching.”
Another key factor contributing to her senior success was better conditioning.
“I went out for basketball mostly for conditioning, but also because my best friend, Kenyatta Scales, kind of talked me into it and said it would be fun,” Perryman said. “It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, but it definitely helped.”
Better conditioning became important when Perryman had to become a workhorse. Her sophomore sister, Jennah, had been slated to be the No. 2 pitcher but in April suffered shoulder problems and stopped pitching for the rest of the season. Hannah merely took on virtually all the pitching chores.
“It was just a mental thing,” she said. “I didn’t think about it. The best way to handle it was, ‘oh well, I’ve got to pitch four games this week, I’ll just do it.’ And I did.
“Really, in summer ball I’ve had to pitch more in a shorter span of time than in high school so it wasn’t that hard.”
As a hitter, Perryman’s home run total dropped to five from 10 the previous year, but she felt she was a better all-around hitter. Perryman batted .333 with a .548 slugging percentage, had five doubles and 27 RBI and scored 21 runs.
“She batted in the three-hole most of the year and I really felt she matured by shortening up her swing and using the whole field,” Dahlman said.
Perryman struck out only three times on the season.
“I didn’t have a home run swing every single time up there,” she said. “I was trying to hit it where it was pitched, as our coach preached. Really, honestly, the 10 home runs the year before was just crazy because I don’t ever hit them. It just kind of happened.”
About the only thing that eluded Perryman was postseason team success. The Maroons lost their first regional game, 2-1, to Schaumburg.
“It was disappointing because we thought we could go far, and weird to be done with high school ball, even sad,” Perryman said. “I had to shrug it off and then it was on to travel ball, starting right away.”
And more pitching, and more strikeouts.