Shipley School defeats Springside Chestnut Hill 1-0 to capture 2023 PAISAA State Championship - PSD Photo by Zack Beavers
Photos/Videos: Zack Beavers & Marc Narducci
By: Marc Narducci
GLENSIDE, PA – For Shipley School senior Maddie Todd, her foot only hurt every time she threw a pitch. Other than that, she was fine.
If one counts all the accomplishments during her storied career, pitching with a cracked bone in her left foot may rank as her best achievement.
Actually, pitching a dominating final game to cap an unbeaten double championship season, makes her improbable road that much more impressive.
It’s amazing what good medicine adrenaline can be, because Todd needed it throughout the season that was capped with Thursday’s 1-0 win over Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA) state championship at Arcadia University.
On a picture-perfect afternoon where the game-time temperature was 70 degrees, Todd and Chestnut Hill righthander Sami Snyder, an eighth grader who pitched like a seasoned veteran, were so efficient that the game lasted just one hour and 22 minutes.
It was the first-ever PAISAA title for Shipley, which lost last year, 1-0 to Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in the title game.
Todd didn’t pitch in that game a year ago. She played first base. Isabella Purdy, now a member of the Salisbury softball team, was the pitcher last year for Shipley.
Shipley School senior pitcher Maddie Todd #25 - PSD Photo by Zack Beavers
This year Todd was the only pitcher on a team that won the Friends League title as well, and ended with a 15-0 record.
But what about the foot?
She played all season with a cracked bone in her left foot and is going to have surgery on June 22.
A righthander, Todd puts severe pressure on her left foot every pitch.
So a simple question is – does it hurt every time a pitch is thrown?
“It hurts a lot because I don’t land softly,” she said.
No, there were no soft landings, especially on each of the 12 strikeouts she recorded.
“Pitching, I do go 100 to zero so it’s not good,” she said. “Thankfully, adrenaline kind of just gets me through the game and after I am sore.”
The day after games she would usually receive several treatments, including stem, ultrasound and massages. She also gets her ankle taped every day.
As for the injury, Todd broke her sesamoid bone.
According to the National Library of Medicine, a sesamoid bone is a small bone that is commonly found embedded within a muscle or tendon near joint surfaces, existing as focal areas of ossification and functioning as a pulley to alleviate stress on that particular muscle or tendon.
Sounds like a pretty essential bone to us.
Anyway, the injury first occurred last summer and so she took the Fall off in hopes of recovering.
In January, she aggravated the injury while with her travel team, the PA Strikers 18-U National Lichtner, during a trip to Arizona. She didn’t aggravate it pitching, but when she went hiking with her teammates.
It continued to bother her this season, but she took the ball for every inning of every assignment. She said there was never any consideration of shutting things down.
The only time she got relief, is when Shipley would end games early due to the 15-run rule (after three innings) or 10-run rule after five innings.
“Every time I land on it, it kind of shakes,” Todd said.
It makes one wonder how well she could have pitched if totally healthy.
As it is, besides recording 12 strikeouts, she only allowed two hits, both singles by SCH senior third baseman Courtney Oliver.
The biggest jam Todd faced came in the sixth inning when SCH had runners on second and third and one out, but Todd then got a pop up to short and a flyout to left to end the inning.
Meanwhile fellow righthander Snyder was pitching her heart out, allowing the hard-hitting Gators just five hits while striking out seven,
“I knew she was a solid player, but she is beyond her years as far as her mental toughness on the mound and doesn’t get rattled and has control of the pitches,” said SCH coach Stephanie Mill about Snyder. “I haven’t seen an eighth grader that can pitch that well and I am excited for the future.”
#16 Sami Snyder, Springside Chestnut Hill standout eighth-grade pitcher - PSD Photo by Zack Beavers
She should be, with four more years of Snyder on the mound. As it is, this relatively young SCH team finished this season 10-6.
Shipley scored its lone run in the fifth inning. It all began with a one-out single by freshman Chloe Kline. She advanced to third on classmate Ashley McCauley’s double and then scored on a wild pitch that didn’t stray that far away from the catcher, which made it a close play at the plate.
“Coach said on a passed ball, go, so I assumed it was passed, but apparently it wasn’t that far back,” Kline said. “I was already halfway down, and I couldn’t go back so I made sure my foot was on the plate.”
That was it, one measly run stood up for the second year in a row between these two competitors.
Afterwards, first-year Shipley coach Erica Cipolloni could only marvel at what her team accomplished and especially the way her pitcher competed not only this day, but all season.
“She is so composed and was just outstanding for us all year,” said Cipolloni, a former second baseman for the University of Virginia. “She was our only pitcher, and we were trying to save her as much as possible.”
Which meant lightening her load considerably in practice. It ended up with a classic final performance.
‘She finished strong,” Cipolloni said proudly.
After the surgery, Todd said she will be sidelined for about six weeks.
After the win, Shipley gathered together for a celebratory team selfie - PSD Photo by Marc Narducci
She will continue her education and softball career at Drexel University and said she expects to be ready by the beginning of September.
No matter what, Todd was determined to finish this season and as it turns out her team was the last one standing.
“It’s amazing,” Todd said. “I wouldn’t want it to end any other way.”
Well, maybe, she would want it done on a healthy foot, but that wasn’t possible, so Todd did the next best thing – willed her team to a season full of victories, regardless of any discomfort.