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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Big-swinging Strbak powers softball to walk-off Clarksburg win

The team improved to 1-1 with the win, next faces slate of division opponents
Sophomore+Addie+Strbak+swings+with+her+signature+slap+swing%2C+taking+a+step+forward+while+swinging.+Strbak+went+3+for+5+at+the+plate+and+hit+the+game-winning+double+in+the+bottom+of+the+seventh+inning.
Seyun Park
Sophomore Addie Strbak swings with her signature slap swing, taking a step forward while swinging. Strbak went 3 for 5 at the plate and hit the game-winning double in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Sophomore shortstop Addie Strbak is a slapper.

A slap hitter takes steps forward as a part of their swing, attempting to get on base faster, and pushes to make strategic and directional contact with the ball. The usually less powerful, but directed ball of slappers contrasts with the power contact gained from the full swing that most hitters employ.

But with her team trailing by one run in the bottom of the seventh inning, and with two outs, three balls and two strikes, Strbak did something she had only done before in practice: she swung big.

Dispatching the ball deep into centerfield and with infielders in chase, Strbak sprinted around the bases, sending two runners home before sliding safely into second base, bringing the Wildcats home to victory.

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“I think her size will lead to people creeping in a little bit. Her style is as a slapper, but she’s been working a lot on full swinging, and that paid off today,” head coach Richard Carter said.

Strbak led the Wildcats to an 11-10 walk-off win over the Clarksburg Coyotes on Saturday, April 6, notching the team’s first win of the season.

“We pulled out with a good win and we fought hard. The other team fought hard too and we had some unfortunate times, but you know we came out with the win,” senior pitcher and team captain Sami Rosenberg said.

The Wildcats had started the season with a tough loss to Sherwood High School, getting mercy ruled 12-2 in six innings shortly before spring break.

Clarksburg High School softball coach Nicole Wallace directs runners home as the Coyotes stage a comeback. The Coyotes came back from trailing 9-0 to lead 10-9 in the fifth and sixth innings. (Seyun Park)

On Saturday, eager to play after multiple rain delays, the Wildcats brought the heat out of the gate, racing to a 9-0 lead by the bottom of the fourth inning. Highlights included a four-run first inning and a fourth-inning triple by sophomore catcher Alina Bonior, which nearly cleared the fence for a home run.

MPSSAA rules state that if a team leads by 10 or more runs any time after five innings, the game is called. However, with the mercy rule just within reach, at the top of the fifth inning, the Coyotes surged back to score four runs, featuring two 2 RBI doubles.

Clarksburg pitcher junior Greta Gleason pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fifth while the Coyotes continued their comeback in the top of the sixth inning scoring another six runs to take the lead 10-9.

Clarksburg starting pitcher Gabby Encinas struck out one batter, walked three and gave up four earned runs. Gleason replaced Encincas in the bottom of the third inning and recorded three strikeouts and two walks. For WJ, Rosenberg struck out nine and walked five batters, giving up seven earned runs across seven innings.

“We just know that Sami’s gonna be good for the first couple innings … and teams are gonna start figuring her out, so we know that we have to stay with it, score enough runs to keep a lead,” Carter said. “That’s gonna be how we live, score a bunch of runs.”

Head coach Richard Carter calls a timeout during the top of the sixth inning to talk to senior pitcher Sami Rosenberg and the defense as he attempted to extinguish the Coyotes’ comeback. (Seyun Park)

Heading into the top of the seventh inning, all pressure was on Rosenberg and the Wildcat defense to keep the Coyotes off the scoresheet. When they needed it most, the team clutched up with Strbak throwing a force-out to senior first baseman Ellie Langley, and senior center fielder Mackenzie Norris making back-to-back running catches on pop flies to end the inning.

The bottom of the seventh inning saw Carter pull out all the stops to stave off the Coyotes. To open the inning, senior second baseman Carly Gilder recorded a single; Carter replaced Gilder with pinch-runner sophomore Elizabeth Borissow. However, Gilder’s progress was shortly undone as Borissow was tagged out at second attempting a steal.

Norris struck out against Gleason to go down two outs before senior Allie Berube advanced to first base on a dropped third strike. Carter then sent junior Cece Robinson to pinch hit in place of sophomore left fielder Abby Koenig. It was Robinson’s first at-bat for the varsity team in a regular season game, but despite the nerves, the move paid off, as she singled with a deep drive past the first baseman, bringing Strbak up to the plate.

After two strikes and two balls on Strbak, a wild pitch from Gleason allowed Berube and Robinson to advance to scoring position. With a full count and runners on second and third, Strbak brought the game home with her big-swing 2 RBI double.

Watch the moment sophomore Addie Strbak hits the game-winning double to walk-off the win against Clarksburg (Courtesy Addie Strbak)

“Going up to bat I knew I had to continue to pull through; I had a good game so far but knew this was when it mattered most. I had some nerves but knowing Allie and Cece led us off great, something good was going to happen,” Strbak said.

The team will play four times in the coming week, with two sets of back-to-back games. Monday will see the team travel to crosstown rival B-CC High School and on Tuesday, the team will visit star pitcher Maggie King’s Churchill team.

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Seyun Park
Seyun Park, Print Editor-in-Chief
Junior Seyun Park is in his third year of the Pitch, happy to join this year as a Print Editor-in-Chief. Outside of Pitch, Seyun plays tennis and cello, and likes to follow hockey.
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