With Regular Season Over, Boonsboro Softball Looks Ahead to Postseason
Photo courtesy of Melanie Anderson
After a strong season in 2015, Boonsboro softball is looking to take it a step further in 2016 with a deep postseason run.
The Warriors finished 15-6 last season, the first winning season under head coach Mark Wadel. The team was also MVAL Antietam Conference Co-Champions, and advanced to the second round of the MPSSAA state playoffs.
Nine players from that team returned this season, heightening expectations, which the team has met. Boonsboro currently sits at 15-5, with only one of those losses coming against a team in the Warriors' classification, 1A.
"The girls knew coming in that we'd have even higher expectations for them this season, and they've been working hard trying to meet those goals," Wadel said.
While it's been a total team effort, you'd be hard-pressed to find a player as crucial to the Warriors' success as Karly Payne.
Payne has had a monstrous year, both at the plate and on the mound. She leads the team in batting average at .449, registering 31 hits total, 17 of which have been extra base hits. Payne has also only struck out twice this campaign.
On the hill, Payne has thrown 83.1 innings this season, which accounts for 65 percent of Boonsboro's innings. She holds a 2.26 ERA, and has struck out 77 batters.
Joining Payne as a leader in both areas is Lauren Longerbeam. At the plate, Longerbeam is hitting .371 with a team leading 27 RBI's. On the mound, she's hurled 40 innings, posting a 2.27 ERA in the process.
Joining Payne and Longerbeam in having standout seasons at the dish are Dallas Kilgore and Payton Smith. Kilgore is batting .412, while her 32 runs scored and .487 OBP are both team highs. Smith's batting average trails on Payne's, registering a .414 clip.
"I think we're pretty balanced," Wadel said. "I wouldn't say we're great at any one facet of the game, but I think we're pretty good at all of them."
The Warriors also have a fighting spirit, which they displayed in their first game against North Hagerstown this season.
Boonsboro trailed North Hagerstown by four runs in the seventh inning, and after the team's first two batters of the inning got out, the Warriors had just one out to work with. Kilgore started the rally with a triple, which was followed by a walk. Alayna Pettyjohn roped an RBI single, before Longerbeam crushed a three-run home run to tie it. In the eighth inning, Wyand hit an RBI double in walkoff fashion to give the Warriors an instant classic victory.
"It was a great team win to rally from four down with our backs against the wall," Wadel said.
With the team's regular season finished, Boonsboro now looks ahead to the MPSSAA playoffs. Although Wadel admits it's a high goal, the team hopes to win a state championship.
If Boonsboro falls short of that goal though, it won't be because of a lack of preparedness. The team's coaching staff, comprised of Wadel, JR Hawkins, Jeff Payne, Mark Baker and Danielle McDonald, are an experienced bunch who bring a lot to the program.
"Each brings something a little different from the other, and that's what makes for a great staff," Wadel said. "I'm thankful I get to work with such a great group every day, and I know the girls are too!"
|May 5th, 2016||By: Wick Eisenberg|