Colonials Picked To Finish Third
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
Mar 19, 2014, 08:55
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — Much like the baseball team, the Colonials softball team is a highly confident and optimistic group entering the 2014 Spring season. After finishing last season with a 8-12 overall record, including a 6-8 mark within the Central District, Colonial Heights returns eight starters while only losing two from last year's respectable campaign.
It's why even through the mix of the realignment, Colonial Heights was pegged to finish third in the eight-team conference behind both Warhill and New Kent. And the reason for the high marks for the Colonials is because of an offense which should be strong from top-to-bottom.
Leading the offense is Lincoln Memorial University Railsplitters commit Savannah Couch who had a team-leading batting average of .485 last season with nine doubles, five triples and three home runs and a team-leading 32 RBIs. However, that is only part of the impact the senior has on the team.
As the team's starting catcher, Couch is another coach on the field. While most high school teams call pitches from the bench, it's Couch who calls her own game from behind the plate which sometimes leads to disagreements with manager Chris Martin.
"I don’t have to call pitches very often,” Martin said during her signing day with a laugh. “She’s one of those girls where I don’t outwardly get on her, but we have some intense moments through stares. She may choose something I don’t agree with now and then, but she comes in and explains it to me and most of the time she’s right.”
“The catcher leads the field, tells people what to do and leads the team,” she said of her job on the travel team. “That’s the leadership I take 80 percent of the year so I don’t treat my girls differently here. I am a little stubborn, but I would rather do too much than too little.”
Yet, it doesn't just end with Couch and her production.
It continues with senior Ashley Schoot who hit .345 last season while driving in 19 runs in addition to Lindsey Nowland hitting at a .423 clip. But perhaps even more important is having the benefit of multiple pitchers.
Last season, the Colonials had just Schoot on the hill for each game as she finished with an 8-12 record, 5.43 ERA along with a 2-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. But with the addition of Amber Harris and a number of other youngsters who have shown an ability to be effective pitchers which gives Martin confidence.
"I have a good mix of returning experience with some new youthful talent," Martin wrote in an email. "We finally have more than one pitcher on the team which will help in the long run. We should be pretty strong as a team as long as we stay a team."