Softball’s pitching leads to early season success

Nate Jarvis, Sports Editor

The sun is shining, bottom of the seventh, bases loaded, two outs with a 3-2 count. The womens softball team relies on senior starting pitcher Sydney Hopper to deliver the final strike to end the game and leave the Patriots victorious.
On average, roughly 70 percent of Hopper’s pitches are deemed strikes, while the other 30 percent are called balls. An ace on the mound as well as an ace in the classroom, Hopper has decided to continue playing softball at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
“She is a phenomenal pitcher and she is a key to our success,” senior third basemen Carina Morris said. “But it’s her emotion on and off the field that inspires everyone to play their best at all times.”
The team has had much success in its first games of the season. With a current record of 10-4, the Patriots have out-scored their opponents by an average of 6.4 points per game. The team has played 2A rivals Sammamish twice and have won both games by seven and ten points, respectively.
“Every out we get boosts our confidence,” Morris said, “It doesn’t matter if it is a strikeout, a routine play to first or a diving catch in the outfield. We get excited for every out we get because they are all equally important.”
The Varsity team currently has two freshmen starting: Kendall Kauzlarich and Sarah Abraham. Both play outfield, Kauzlarich in right and Abraham in left. Kauzlarich has been successful in the field as well as in the batter’s box; during her first match up against Sammamish, she had two hits for three at bats, with one walk and an RBI. During this game, the Patriots only had one error to Sammamish’s five.
“Kendall has a lot of experience and has worked really hard to make it on the Varsity team,” Hopper said. She has a lot of leadership abilities that will make her a great leader in the future. Sarah is also really solid out there in left field—like Kendall she works just as hard as anyone.”
While facing the Bellevue Wolverines in back-to-back games, the team was victorious in both match ups. The first game came down to the wire with a hit by junior Maddy O’Connor to send in the winning run, putting the Patriots up 2-1 in the seventh inning. During the second game, the team was led by consistent pitching from Hopper, who had six strikeouts, along with solid field play by the other Patriots, leading the team to a 4-3 victory over the Wolverines.