Junior Aniko Alexander, shortstop for the Quince Orchard varsity softball team, said, “I definitely (consider the season a success). … The girls have really come together as a team this year, and our record shows it.”
She’s definitely right about that last part; the softball team has enjoyed an excellent 15-3 season on their way to clinching a spot in the postseason.
To keep the Cougars’ chances alive down the stretch, they have got to “keep (the) hitting alive,” said pitcher/first base dual-threat Teyha Harbaugh, a senior. “And we definitely need to communicate more in the field and less in the dugout.”
Harbaugh has more than proven her worth on the diamond. She’s batted .583, led the team in total hits with 21, and knocked in 12 RBI over 13 games played this season. Additionally, she has a 6-1 record as a part of the Cougars’ pitching rotation.
Sophomore pitcher Chloe Barsness praised Harbaugh. “Spending a lot of time in practice together and playing the same position has given us a big chance to understand each other,” Barsness said. “I truly enjoy pitching with her.”
Meanwhile, Alexander said that “everybody has to have a good attitude and keep their focus on the game. … I believe we can go far if we’re on top of the game and leave it all on the field.” She has also been a key contributor to the team with a .392 batting average, 20 hits, and 16 RBI (tying Journei Whitehead for the lead in that category) over 15 games played.
Both Alexander and Harbaugh identified key victories in the Cougars’ big season. Harbaugh’s defining moment was “when (the team) beat Blair twice.” The most recent Blair game was an away bout on April 17, and they came out of it with a convincing 7-3 victory. Three weeks earlier, the Cougars had routed the Blazers, winning by a large margin of 12-2.
For Alexander, it was when “(the team) mercy-ruled Wootton. … We pulled together and each had to secure the win.” That Wootton win appears to have been the catalyst for the season. Following two straight decisive losses to Damascus and Northwest, respectively, their 10-0 victory against Wootton High School on April 4 proved to be the spark the team needed to dominate the rest of their schedule. Since their April 1 loss against Northwest, they’ve enjoyed an outstanding 13-1 run. Their hot streak is a likely factor in not only the team’s playoff berth but the number one seed in their division as well.
Two of the team’s starters and leading contributors also share a deep respect for their coach, Colleen Adams. Her players believe her to be instrumental to the team’s runaway success, and she more than reciprocates this good will.
“The fun that (the girls) have and the hard work that they put in (is what I like most),” Adams said. “Some of them I have coached for four years and for others this is their first year, but you can’t tell from how (well) they get along.”
Editor’s note: Girls’ varsity softball beat Richard Montgomery, 13-1, on May 14. At press time Wednesday, the Cougars were facing Northwest in the section semi-finals.