The defending Virginia State AA champion Broad Run High girls’ softball team was a perfect 7-0 going into this week’s action.
Spartans coach Ed Steele said his squad has played superb ball through the first part of the spring season.
"So far, our pitching and hitting have been great," said Steele. "We haven’t really been tested on defense yet."
The coach explained that teams generally hit better as the season moves onward. So, he is anticipating that the Spartans’ gloves will come more into play in the weeks ahead.
"Hitters catch up as the spring goes on," said Steele.
Broad Run has received outstanding seasons from its top three players — pitcher Caitlyn Delahaba, first baseman Karla Powell and outfielder Ashley Kramer.
Delahaba, as she was last year when she went 28-0 on the mound, has been dominant as perhaps the best pitcher in the metropolitan area.
"She gets herself ready for the season with hard work." said Steele, of his pitching ace.
The hard work continues to pay off.
Delahaba tossed a two-hit shutout in the Spartans’ non-district 4-0 win over Ashburn rival Stone Bridge High last week. During one inning, the Bulldogs, members of the Northern Region’s Liberty District, loaded the bases with one out. But Delahaba escaped the jam with no runs allowed.
"She’s unflappable," said Steele. "She just throws the ball and knows our defense will catch it if the batter hits it, or she will get a strikeout."
<b>TWO OTHER</b> players who have played outstanding ball this season are senior right fielder Kaitlyn Tiplady, the Spartans’ No. 9 hitter in the line-up, and versatile junior player Judy Betz.
Tiplady has been a key contributor at the bottom of the order for Broad Run.
"She’s like second on the team in runs scored and second or third in RBIs," said Steele.
And Betz, Broad Run’s backup pitcher who can contribute in the infield or outfield, leads the Spartans in batting thus far with a .533 average.
Betz got a chance to pitch during a tournament in Richmond two weekends ago and threw a no-hitter in a win over Arcadia (Oak Hall, Va.).
Broad Run followed the Arcadia victory with tournament wins over Cave Spring (Roanoke), L.C. Bird (Chesterfield) and Battlefield (Haymarket).
Betz belted a home run in a Dulles District win over Freedom and has been on base in every game for the Spartans. She hits No. 7 in Broad Run’s potent lineup.
"She really is a good contact hitter," said Steele, of Betz. "She’ll hit it to right field on outside pitches. She knows the strike zone and hits strikes. She is pretty patient [at the plate]."
Coach Steele said he is not concerned with his squad becoming overconfident as a result of its solid start this season. The Spartans come out focused to play and don’t overlook opponents.
"We pretty much know if we play our game, we will win," he said. "We’re focused on the fundamentals."