As she entered her junior season, Abby Abramson wasn’t certain that she would be Cheshire’s starting pitcher this year. Unbeknownst to Abramson, her coach, Kristine Drust, saw Abramson’s potential as a future starter when Abramson was a freshman.
“Pretty much right when she came to us,” Drust said. “She stepped in as our backup her freshman year to save some games for Mackenzie (Juodaitis). Mackenzie got injured in a game against Amity and Abby came in as a freshman and won some games right after that and started for us.
“I knew from the beginning when Abby came, just seeing what she was capable of. As long as she continued to improve, she had a good chance to be our starter he junior year.”
Last season as a sophomore Abramson did not pitch at all. Instead she played shortstop, while Juodaitis pitched Cheshire to the Class LL state championship game before losing to Southington.
With Juodaitis set to graduate, Abramson was aware of the opportunity to win the starting job.
“I knew there was a space to fill,” Abramson said. “So pretty much right after the season ended, I kind of had that thought in my mind. I started working in the offseason a lot with (catcher) Megan (Hodgdon) in order to try to get up to that level to fill that spot.”
Despite getting significant work in preseason scrimmages, Abramson was still not convinced she would be her team’s starter.
“Probably not until the roster was set for the first game,” Abramson said.
Abramson not only won the starting job, but she did not lose a game this season. Abramson, the Register All-Area Most Valuable Player, went 27-0 and led the Rams to the SCC championship and the Class LL title, the program’s first state championship.
Abramson struck out 326 batters in 183 innings and an earned run average of 0.612. She also batted .493 with 11 home runs, 36 hits, 32 RBIs and 27 walks.
While Abramson was a solid player as a sophomore, her work ethic in the off-season helped her become one of the state’s best.
“She improved a ton,” Drust said. “To be honest — fundamentals aside — she just got so much stronger physically and mentally. Her mental game, and her physical game, and what she has done in the offseason, has really brought her to where she is.”
Abramson throws five pitches: fastball, curveball, screwball, rise and change. She began practicing pitches other than the fastball at age 12.
“For a long time, I just worked on trying to perfect the fastball and the change,” Abramson said. “If you don’t have that baseline, then it’s really hard to learn another pitch.”
Although Abramson enjoyed playing shortstop, she grew to love pitching, especially this season.
“They’re very different,” Abramson said. “I probably have to say that I like pitcher better probably just because you are always involved in every play, the ball goes through you. One one hand that’s kind of a lot of pressure to be under but, on the other hand, it helps me stay focused in the game and know that I am contributing all I can.”
Despite going unbeaten, Cheshire had several close contests, including a walk-off victory over Lauralton Hall in the SCC championship game and a 4-3 win in 11 innings over East Haven during the regular season.
“Not that going undefeated was our goal, but a lot of times people think you have to lose in order to learn,” Abramson said. “That was definitely not true with our team. There were multiple games we played throughout out season that we didn’t play our best or we could of done a lot better and we learned from those.
“We learned from the mistakes we made in each game, even in the games we won by a lot. We tried to remember those mistakes moving forward and we tried to do them better the next time.”
Abramson and Cheshire did not surrender a run in the four games it played in the Class LL tournament this season. The Rams defeated SCC rival Amity 5-0 in the championship game. Abramson assisted on the final on a ground ball hit back to her.
“It was so amazing,” Abramson said. “Sometimes I still wake up in the morning and it still feels surreal. I cannot be happier to be apart of this team and this season.”