The Wildcats, who advanced to the second round of the Class AA playoffs in ’12, have come out swinging this season with a 9-3 record going into last Saturday’s game against Holy Innocents’.
“We had a really good month of August and I’m real pleased with where we are right now,” Westminster coach Brent McGuire said. “Of course, our record indicates that we’re playing well and we are. I’m happy with the month of August and we’re looking forward to September — that’s when our schedule is really going to pick up with our [Region 6AA] schedule.”
The Wildcats have been helped by the rapid development of their group of younger players.
“One of the unique things about our team this year is that we start four or five freshmen every ballgame,” McGuire said. “We’re a very young team and these young players have really filled in quickly and have done a really nice job for us.”
Westminster is especially potent at the plate, where it is averaging eight runs a game — a dramatic improvement from the three runs it averaged a year ago — and has scored double-digit runs in seven of its nine wins.
“The numbers are very indicative in terms of what we’ve done,” McGuire said. “We kind of knew going into the season that we were going to have a very good offensive team. Our hitters one through nine in our lineup can put the bat on the ball well, so we were counting on our offense leading the way this year. It’s one of the stronger lineups that we’ve had in quite some time. Every player in the lineup has been contributing offensively. It’s a very balanced lineup and we like what this lineup brings to the table.”
The Wildcats have been especially boosted at the plate by the return of senior catcher Maggie Wellborn, who led the team with a .500 batting average and had one home run and nine RBIs as of Thursday.
Senior first baseman Meryl McCurry (.441, 1 HR, 10 RBIs as of Thursday), junior pitcher/shortstop Andi Carrandi (.429, 2 HR, 9 RBIs as of Thursday) and freshman catcher/shortstop Allison Greenberg (.395 as of Thursday) have also provided some punch at the plate.
Westminster had a big hole to fill on the mound after the graduation of last year’s ace Michelle Bonnot, who finished her high school career as the school’s all-time leader in wins (51).
However, Carrandi (6-1 as of Thursday) and sophomore Emily Bassett (3-1 as of Thursday) have stepped in to fill the gap, combining to allow an average of only two runs per game.
“Going into the season, the big question mark was going to be our pitching staff,” McGuire said. “We really were unproven in the pitching department going into the season and that has been the pleasant surprise of the season so far.”