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The Wakulla War Eagle softball team has been looking to the 2017 season for a long time. Last year’s team, a very young one, suffered through a lot of growing pains, bumps and bruises on the way to a 10-16 record and a heartbreaking loss to Arnold in the district playoffs. All but three of the players from last year’s team are back, and this year’s squad is using last year’s frustrations to fuel them.
The 2017 War Eagles have just one more senior than last year, but feature a far more experienced roster. The young bunch features plenty of talent, too. The War Eagles have at least started on the right foot in 2017, jumping out to a 6-3 record, and they seem well on their way to avenging last year’s frustrations.
Leading the way for Wakulla is one of the seniors on the team. Pitcher Skyler Sullivan is in her third year as the team’s starting pitcher, and it seems she has saved her best stuff for last. Sullivan is headed to play college ball at Alabama State next year, but right now she’s pitching the lights out in high school.
She’s already pitched two no-hitters, one of which was a pitch away from being a perfect game - a ball four call on a full count was the difference. She also already has 58 strikeouts, allowed just three earned runs, and thrown four shutouts.
Head coach Sally Wheeler said Sullivan’s dominance this season has been a result of her dedication and hard work off the field. “She really knows that if she’s pitching well, we’re doing well. She’s been great this year; she’s really stepped up,” Wheeler says.
Sullivan is quick to point to the defensive help Sullivan has had behind her, though. Even with young position players (three sophomores in the infield and one in the outfield) the team boasts a .956 fielding percentage. The cut down in errors from a season ago is one of the biggest reasons for the War Eagles’ improvement, according to Wheeler.
But the team has also been ruthless at the plate. Everyone is batting over .315 and the team already has more walks than they did all of last season.
The lineup from top to bottom is clearly hitting well, but junior catcher Kat McGlamry is currently putting up a season to end all seasons. Through 10 games (including a preseason win over Ridgeview) she has posted a .783 batting average. That is not a typo. Of her 18 hits, 13 have been doubles.
Those are truly staggering numbers. Wheeler says she’s seen players go on stretches like the one McGlamry is on, but has never had a player hit above .500 for a full season. If McGlamry can keep going at anything close to her current pace, then she could well be on her way to an all-time season.
As tremendous a start as McGlamry has had, she’s not the only player on her team to have a batting average over .500. Sophomore first baseman Willow Nixon and senior center fielder Deisra’ Wishart are both at or above the mark as well.
Ana Reyes and Emery Mayne may be hitting a relatively paltry .357 and .333, respectively, but they also are tied for the team lead in runs at eight. With batting averages as high as Reyes’ and Mayne’s not even near being the team lead, it’s truly an embarrassment of riches for the War Eagles at the plate right now.
The team-wide success is being driven by a focus on getting better every game with an eye ever gazing on the postseason. “They’re all hungry, especially after last year,” explains Wheeler.