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Winning Ways Continue for McLean Softball Team

Highlanders riding a 10-game win streak following victory over Marshall.

With the postseason just around the corner, the McLean High girls’ softball team continues to play at a torrid pace.

The Highlanders won both of their Liberty District games last week – home wins over Stone Bridge, 5-1, and Marshall, 4-3, on Tuesday, April 20 and Friday, April 23, respectively. With the wins, McLean improved to 12-1 overall and a perfect 8-0 in district play.

Friday’s win over Marshall was McLean’s 10th straight. A year ago, the Highlanders put together a 15-game win streak at one point.

That 2009 McLean edition ultimately went all the way to the Northern Region semifinals.

This team could match or even better last year’s success when all is said and done.

McLean, going into this week, still has seven games remaining in the regular season before the start of the postseason. This week, the Highlanders were scheduled to play three games – at home versus Jefferson on Tuesday, April 27, home versus Bishop O’Connell on Thursday, April 29, and at South Lakes this Friday evening, April 30. Thursday and Friday night’s games are set to begin at 6:30.

Prior to last week’s action, McLean played a solid, all-around game in a 6-0 win at cross-town and district rival Langley on April 16. It was a well-played game by both teams. The two teams will play again at McLean on Tuesday, May 11.

“Langley gets really up for our games and they played very well,” said Tawil. “We won 6-0 but it was a competitive game. It was a great atmosphere.”

The Highlanders collected 11 hits at the

plate. Meanwhile, pitcher Jamie Bell tossed a shutout and the Saxons’ defense was flawless.

McLean’s infield turned in two particularly nifty plays in the field. On the one, Langley batter Julia Weeks roped a line drive towards third baseman Jessie Straub. The ball glanced off the junior’s glove and up into the air just behind her. The ball bounced before Straub picked it up and zipped it over to first base on a close out.

On another occasion, a Langley batter hit a soft popup between shortstop and third base. McLean shortstop Lauren McColgan went deep into the hole to field the ball on one hop before gunning a throw to first for the out.

“We made some spectacular plays in the infield,” said Tawil, of the shutout win. “When you play defense like that, it makes everything else so much easier.”

Bell, a junior, threw another strong game last Tuesday in McLean’s win over Stone Bridge. Over seven innings, she allowed just four hits, including a solo homer. The Highlanders’ offense accumulated 10 hits, five of which went for extra bases.

“We got a great pitching performance,” said Tawil. “It’s unfortunate she gave up that one home run. That pitch was a mistake. Otherwise, she pitched a great game. We made just one error. We just put together a great game.”

At the plate, Tawil said his players have consistently gotten their money’s worth nearly every time they step into the batter’s box. The Highlanders have been selective and waited for good pitches to hit.

“We consistently talk and place an emphasis on having great at-bats,” said the coach. “They own that at-bat and we want them to make the most of it – to know what the count is, where base runners are, situational hitting. We don’t want to come back to the dugout and feel like it was a wasted at-bat.”

McLean’s top hitters going into this week were: Straub (.593 batting average, team leading 17 RBIs); Bell (.533 average, 10 RBIs); and catcher Carolyn Gilbertson (.533 average, 9 RBIs).

Bell, on the mound, is 9-1 with a 1.22 ERA. Over 63 innings of work, she has struck out 75 batters.