Softball: Canal Winchester Indians' Samantha Peters putting cap on stellar career

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Senior Samantha Peters was hitting .583 with six home runs and 57 RBI as Canal Winchester was 17-7 overall before playing Westerville South on May 7.

Brooklyn Best made a simple observation as to why her Canal Winchester softball teammate and best friend, Samantha Peters, put up lofty offensive numbers during the regular season.

“She’s in her element,” Best said. “I’ve never seen her play as well as she has. She’s so confident, and she’s comfortable. We joke with her all the time about striking out just one time all season. She’s been so important for us all year.”

In her third season on varsity, all of which have been spent in the top half of the lineup, Peters became the leader of the offense. 

Peters was batting .583 with 49 hits, six home runs and 57 RBI through 24 games, and Canal Winchester was 17-7 overall and 9-3 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Westerville South on May 7. The victories surpass the 16 wins posted in both 2012 and 2013.

“It definitely took a lot of hard work to get here. I’ve always strived for high expectations so to be here, my expectations just keep rising,” said Peters, who mostly plays third base but occasionally pitches behind classmate Samantha Zungri. “My dad always says ‘happy but not satisfied.’”

Peters made an immediate impact as a freshman, leading the team in hitting (.429) and hits (33) and also had 21 RBI and two of the team's seven home runs. As a sophomore, she batted .432 with 32 hits and a team-high 22 RBI.

Peters batted fourth both seasons and moved up to third this year.

Despite having her junior season canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Peters used those performances as a launching pad into this year, which she hopes to parlay into a college career.

“We didn’t just drop our bats and our gloves and say, ‘Well, the year is over and we’re done.’ We kept working,” Peters said. “It was hard to give up something we really love, but I think I grew mentally as a player. I don’t sweat the small stuff on the field as much now. You have to appreciate everything you have while you’re out there and play like there’s no tomorrow.”

Peters had pitched 27 innings through 24 games, making 10 appearances and starting three with 20 strikeouts and six walks.

“This year is a combination of her growth, playing in the summer and playing the past four years. She’s a good leader, and she’s easy to follow,” coach Casey Whitlatch said. “There’s such maturity. She’s only struck out twice this year and over the course of four years, it might be just a handful of times. She’s such a good, disciplined hitter. She’s selective. She hits the right pitch in the count.”

Peters shrugs off praise for both her on-field accomplishments and off-field leadership.

“This is a team sport. No one person can do it by themselves,” Peters said. “You need eight other girls on the field, even more than that actually. To have eight teammates on the field I can trust makes me feel more comfortable.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave