Statistics can be a matter of perspective.
Statistics can be a matter of perspective.
For example, one may consider the offensive numbers produced by senior shortstop Shelby Fink of the Big Walnut High School softball team last year to be stellar, as she batted .330 with 13 RBI, 25 runs and 11 stolen bases.
But coach Jeff Hatfield, who calls Fink "the heart and soul" of his team, said her junior season was "a little bit of a down year." His opinion was based on the fact that Fink batted .480 with 21 RBI, 34 runs, six home runs and 12 stolen bases as a sophomore after hitting .469 with 11 RBI, 16 runs, two home runs and 20 stolen bases as a freshman.
A hand injury caused Fink's offensive numbers to drop a bit last year. Having undergone surgery last October to repair a muscle in her right hand, she has returned to her previous form this spring. Through 13 games, she was hitting .476 with eight RBI, 11 runs, two home runs and four stolen bases, placing her among the team leaders in all the categories.
"Last year she played the whole season with that injury," Hatfield said of Fink, who is the Golden Eagles' leadoff hitter. "She's an inside-pitch hitter, but she wasn't turning on the ball. She was tentative to hit that inside pitch. This year she's healthy and she's not playing tentative. She's playing like she did her freshman and sophomore years."
Fink, who signed last November to play at Bowling Green State University, also notices a difference in the way she's performing at the plate.
"My hand is healthy now," she said. "I had tightness, swelling and pain in it (before the surgery). Last year, I was really tentative and nervous because it hurt a lot. Now I'm pain free and I'm focusing on seeing the ball and hitting the ball. It feels like I have a big weight off my shoulders."
Although Fink is healthy, Big Walnut has had to deal with injuries this season, including one to senior third baseman Tayler Nance, who hit .317 with 17 RBI and 19 runs last year. Nance missed the first five games recovering from a broken ankle and was the team's flex player for three games after returning before making her first plate appearance. In the first five games in which she batted, she was hitting .333 with two RBI and two runs.
Currently sidelined with an injury is junior catcher Morgan Stephens, who broke her right hand in the third game of the season, a 10-9 loss to Watkins Memorial on April 5. Stephens was hitting .429 with two RBI and two runs when the injury occurred.
Freshman Hayley Apple, who filled in for Nance at third base and has seen time behind the plate, was batting .343 with six RBI, six runs and two home runs through 13 games. Also helping to fill the void at catcher has been sophomore Krysten Chadwick, who was hitting .321 with eight RBI and six runs through 13 games.
Chadwick hit two home runs in a 10-5 win over Watkins Memorial on April 20, raising her team-leading total to five through 14 games.
Other offensive leaders for the Golden Eagles through 13 games included senior center fielder Tabatha Piper (.477, 7 RBI, 7 runs), sophomore pitcher Allie Walker (.323, 7 RBI, 3 runs) and senior second baseman Brittany Bok (.289, 7 RBI, 8 runs).
•Boys tennis coach Mike McDonough hoped to have his team's lineup settled by midseason and, for the most part, he does.
"I think I'm pretty well set on the top five, but there's still some jockeying around with the second-doubles team," he said. "We have four or five guys (competing for playing time at second doubles) and we're trying to figure out the best fit."
McDonough said he plans to keep junior Nathan Randall at first singles, senior Sam Lawless at second singles, junior Dan Violet at third singles and junior Russell McMurry and sophomore Sean Tribble at first doubles.
Vying for playing time at second doubles are junior Nate Fagan, juniors Sam Baldauf and Cory Walters, sophomore Jeff Tribble and freshman Logan Adams.
"I might settle on something (at second doubles) or it might be a revolving door the rest of the season," McDonough said.
Among Big Walnut's victories are a 5-0 win over Westerville North on April 20, a 5-0 win over Olentangy on April 18, a 4-1 win over Newark on April 7 and a 3-2 win over Delaware Hayes on April 14.
"We've had some nice wins against what I consider to be big schools," McDonough said.