Heading into the spring, Ellen Edwards was looking forward to her sophomore season on the Whetstone softball team.
The Braves were feeling confident, coming off winning their first City League championship in six years with an 8-7 victory over Eastmoor Academy in the City final.
“When we won the City championship, it just felt like, ‘we’ve done it,’ ” said Edwards, who plays catcher. “We’ve beat Centennial (to reach the City final), we’ve beat Eastmoor and it just felt great. And just that feeling of being around your teammates and enjoying life – sports just brings so much more than just a game.”
It felt “devastating,” Edwards said, when the Braves lost their opportunity to repeat as City champions because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, which forced the OHSAA to cancel the season.
“I love softball, and I feel like our team was really going to come together this year and we had another shot at the City (title),” Edwards said. “It really hurts for not only me, but I really feel for the seniors and knowing that I won’t be able to catch for our senior pitchers again is really devastating.”
But if her freshman season was any indication, Edwards’ remaining two years with the Braves look promising.
Starting behind the plate as a freshman, Edwards had a .933 fielding percentage – the second best on the team – en route to helping the Braves go 15-11 overall and 13-1 in the City-North.
Whetstone and Centennial tied for first, and the Braves then defeated the Stars 11-8 in a playoff game to advance to the City final.
Edwards was just as prolific at the plate, batting .438 with a .583 slugging percentage and striking out only five times in 63 plate appearances. She had 13 RBI, two doubles, a triple and a home run.
“Ellen is one of our more competitive players, always striving to learn more about the game, calling pitches in different situations and serving as an on-the-field coach in her role as a catcher,” coach Larry Peck said.
“Ellen is an excellent student and is a great representative of the Whetstone community. I am disappointed that we lost this season, as I thought she was poised to have a breakout year both defensively and at the plate.”
Edwards, who also plays basketball and volleyball for the Braves, said she plans to spend the summer playing outfield for her travel team, the Ohio Tigers.
“I expect her to further refine her softball skills and also become a more assertive leader on our team,” Peck said.
Edwards said she has the mentality to continue to grow as a player.
“I’ve always tried to have a good attitude about things,” she said. “In softball it’s a game of mistakes. .... You make one mistake, you have to go out there and make up for it. And I’ve always tried to have a good attitude and be able to improve on that. I’ve learned through athletics that if you make a mistake, you just have to get right back out there. You have to keep working and keep putting in the effort.”