Nov. 9—CUMBERLAND — There may not be a pitcher-catcher combination better than Abi Britton and Riley Gallagher in the state, and on Thursday, the duo signed to Division 1 colleges.
Britton, the two-time reigning Area Player of the Year, will continue her career at Penn State. Gallagher, an All-Area selection at catcher, inked her signature to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
Britton has established herself as one of the best pitchers in area history. In two varsity seasons, the right-hander — with a fastball that climbs to the mid-to-upper 60s — is 28-2 with a 0.40 ERA with 377 strikeouts and eight walks in 158 2/3 innings pitched.
In her junior season, Britton threw five perfect games, just one off the state record.
At the plate, Britton hit .574 with eight doubles, nine home runs and 46 runs batted in. She hit .636 as a sophomore.
Britton is also a two-time Western Maryland Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
The senior plays travel for Virginia Glory, coached by Suzy Willemssen, and was selected as a captain last season.
Britton is ranked as the 35th best player in the country in the Class of 2024 by Extra Inning Softball and the No. 24 pitcher.
She's part of a three-player Penn State class that also includes Macy Chamberlin, a catcher from Wauseon, Ohio, and Natalie Lieto, an outfielder from Monroe, Connecticut.
All three are ranked in the top 40 in the country in the senior class.
"As soon as I stepped on Penn State's campus for my visit, it immediately felt like home," Britton said in a press release. "The energy on the campus is something I can't explain, and it's something I knew I wanted to be a part of. After talking with the coaches and hearing what they had planned for the future of the program, I knew that Penn State was where I wanted to spend my collegiate career."
Penn State is coached by Clarisa Crowell. Under her direction, Penn State finished 31-16 last year. It marked the Nittany Lions first consecutive 30-win campaigns since 2005-06.
"Abi is a strong right-handed pitcher, and we will look for her to have an immediate impact on our program," Crowell said. "She will be a very good addition to our pitching staff, as her strengths as a pitcher will be a great compliment to our current rotation.
"Abi is someone who will throw with high velocity, and she will also have elite spin and movement on her pitches. She has experienced a lot of success in her career, and she helped lead her high school team to a state championship in 2022.
"We are very excited for Abi to join our team, and I know that she will be a great player and teammate for our program."
Gallagher and Britton were both key cogs on Allegany's 18-0 state championship-winning team in 2022, which was the school's first since 2010.
With Britton's signing, Gallagher has now caught two hurlers that went on to major colleges.
As a freshman in 2021, Gallagher started every game behind the plate for Kyra Pittman, a two-time Area Player of the Year who has spent the last two seasons at the University of Maryland before transferring to Pittsburgh this year.
Allegany has a 48-3 record with Gallagher catching the past three seasons, and she's won WestMAC Defensive Player of the Year twice.
Gallagher is also one of the area's best contact hitters. She has a career .458 average (77-168) with eight doubles, five triples, one home run and 79 runs scored.
Gallagher continues the pipeline of Allegany Campers to UMBC.
Shanel Stott, a former area Player of the Year at Alco, was named All-American East second team in her final season at UMBC.
Lyndsey Evix, the 2019 Area Offensive Player of the Year and 2017 Defensive Player of the Year with the Campers, is entering her senior season at UMBC. Evix made 35 starts last season and batted .301.
UMBC, coached by Chris Kuhlmeyer, compiled a 26-17 record last season and went 15-4 in American East play. UMBC won the conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament, where it was eliminated by a 3-2 loss to Nebraska.
UMBC has won the American East each of the past five seasons.