By Chris Chaney
Every season carves out its own identity.
Some are consistent, a steady rise or fall while others are more erratic, punctuated by highs and lows, triumphs and disappointments. The true test of a team is the way that they handle and adapt to their type of season.
The Glen Este Lady Trojans have had more of an up-and-down year and as they come down the home stretch of the regular season, head coach Kathy Lach is seeing signs that her team is back to even keel and ready to make a run in the postseason.
“We’ve been up and down,” Lach said. “We had a great start and then we had three starters go out a week to a week and a half (each) so that hurt us. They’re just getting back into it and actually, one of them reinjured her leg, so we’re not all the way back to full strength.
“Coming up for this week and next week in the tournament, we should be back to full strength.”
The fast start Lach referenced included winning nine of the first 10 games of the season, six of which were in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, catapulting them to the top of the league standings.
The last week of April and carrying over into early May, the Lady Trojans were hit with some adversity as they had some key players fall to injury. During that eight day period from April 26 to May 3, Glen Este dropped six of eight games, effectively eliminating them from the conference title race.
However, the timing of the injuries has allowed for recovery and rehabilitation over the last week of the season before the sectional tournament gets under way for the Lady Trojans on May 15.
The makeup of the team is relatively young with no senior on the roster and only one starting junior, but five of the nine starters are returning from last year’s team, meaning they are mature beyond their years. Lach has no concerns about inexperience or being overwhelmed by the moment when the sectional tournament rolls around.
The Lady Trojans are led by their pair of pitchers, Bailey Miller and Brooke Parker. Both sophomores alternate in the circle and when they are not pitching, they play first base.
“My two pitchers have stepped up,” Lach said. “They’re not only very good pitchers, but also my best hitters. They’re both very good first basemen as well.”
Miller is the de facto ace of the staff by the numbers as well as the silver slugger. She boasts a 1.71 earned run average and has struck out 66 batters along with leading the team in batting average (.349), on-base percentage (.414), runs scored (17), hits (22) and doubles (7). Miller is second only to Bailee Sanders in runs batted in and is also tied with Sanders for the team lead in home runs with three a piece.
Parker isn’t far behind in any category. Her ERA is only a few points higher at 1.83 and she has 10 more strikeouts than Miller in 20 more innings of work. From the dish, Parker hits at a .242 clip and has 15 hits with 7 RBI.
Aside from the pitching/first base duo, Lach has seen good years out of Megan Downey, Erika VonBargen and Jessica Dmochowski as well.
With four games left on the regular-season schedule, Lach has one goal: win out.
“I want to win out because we’ve lost our last three games,” Lach said. “I think we can do that. Then, when we get to the tournament, we have to go one game at a time.”
Prior to the tournament, Glen Este earned a slight breather given their seeding. The Lady Trojans will play the winner of No. 9 seeded Colerain and No. 25 seeded Western Hills on Wednesday, May 15.
The advantage of getting a No. 7 seed for Glen Este was the first-round bye that gives them two more days off to get healthy and ready for their next opponent.
“Yes,” Lach said when asked if she was happy with the sectional draw. “Colerain was ranked eighth (going into the seeding), so that should be a good, competitive game. We have to take it one game at a time, we have to beat Colerain or Western Hills or else we won’t go any further. I think we can do that, and then it’s the next game and the next game. That’s what the team goal is, to win sectionals.”