Sporting WCA

Varsity Softball Sectional Preview

The biggest softball game at Westminster in four years commences at 4:30 this afternoon. The softball field will be packed full as students and parents alike rally behind a team that wasn’t even a sure thing to exist this summer.

It all came together by chance. Coach Petke convinced Right fielder Marty Briner to play in History class. Left fielder Carsyn Beachy joined the team just to have fun. Center fielder Rachel Arndt joined the team weeks late after quitting JV Tennis. These three now make up a Sectional outfield. Katie Hobaugh is the fourth new player to start. She plays second base due to a shoulder injury that limits her ability to throw.

These four players, paired with the strong core that already played softball before this season, have created a very serviceable team. By playing sound defense and putting the ball in play, the Wildcats have worked their way to a 13-10-1 record.

They’re 2-0 in the playoffs so far, and they’ve got a Class 3 District Championship under their belts. They play Notre Dame to make it to the State Quarterfinal. The Rebels are 11-11-1 on the season. To get here, they beat Lutheran South and Ursuline in Districts.

Westminster and Notre Dame have played before. On September 14th, the two teams went at it and the Rebels walked away with a 10-5 victory. That day, the Wildcat defense collapsed, making six errors. Only four of the ten runs given up by pitcher Dani Mabry that day were earned. Defense will be a huge factor on the success or failure of the Wildcats today.

Mabry has pitched all but nine innings for Westminster this year. She throws mostly fastballs as her ERA sits at 4.04 coming into today. She likes to keep the ball low, forcing ground balls and  keeping the ball close to the infield.

While the Wildcats have been hot as a team the past week, Reese Earleywine has struggled. After hitting as high as .560, her average is now only .492. Obviously, .492 is still a ridiculously high average, but a strong performance from Earleywine is a huge boost for the Wildcats’ chances to win.

On the other hand, Lauren Gates and Dani Mabry are hot at the plate. Both had three hits in the District Championship against Incarnate Word and are both batting over .515.

As for the expectations today, Petke wants a good effort.

“I expect the girls to compete the entire game. Every at bat, we’ll battle,” he said.

A huge crowd is expected for the game. A full-size Blue Crew will be in attendance, along with parents and other fans. Varsity Soccer will get out of practice early to come watch. The crowd has the ability to sway the game in favor of the Wildcats and against Notre Dame.

The game has been highly anticipated all week. It should be a great game either way, and at the end of the day, the Wildcats hope to walk away victorious.

SportingWCA Staff Score Predictions:

Nathaniel: Westminster 8, Notre Dame 7

Tommy: Westminster 6, Notre Dame 4

Pearson: Westminster 6, Notre Dame 5

Jimmy: Westminster 6, Notre Dame 12

Thomas: Westminster 8, Notre Dame 9

Joey: Westminster 3, Notre Dame 4