Charged batterySpringer, Hahn plan to translate regular season success to postseason
For a team that is 27-1 and ranked No. 1 in 2A, it’s hard to know exactly where to begin to talk about the Highland softball team.
A lot of people might start with the fact that the team averages over nine runs per game, or ranks in the top 10 in fielding percentage in their class, but for pitcher Katie Springer and catcher Courtnee Hahn, it all starts with a wand.
“We are kind of superstitious,” Springer said. “We have a wand that we use (before the game), the whole team uses it, and it symbolizes that, ‘OK, let’s go, let’s do this.’”
No matter what does the trick, the battery of Springer and Hahn have been on fire all season for the Huskies.
The all-junior combination has amassed 166 strikeouts this season, along with a sterling 1.40 ERA. Springer has started all but four games this season for Highland, going 23-1 on the year with the only loss coming to Solon, the No. 4 team in 4A.
“I work offseason all the time,” Springer said. “I have a pitching coach I go to and she has made me a lot better, so I keep throwing the whole time.”
The success isn’t any surprise to people who followed Springer’s statistics last season, as she put up a 1.51 ERA to go with a 29-3 record.
Behind the plate, Hahn has the task of making sure things don’t get out of hand in the game.
“I try to keep her confident with her pitches,” Hahn said. “I tell her to finish her pitches and she does a good job. We are coming into the games confident and ready, knowing we have to play our game and we do that every time.”
Hahn’s game has come defensively and been critical offensively for the Huskies.
She is batting a .338 average, along with an on-base percentage of .472, 18 RBIs, two homeruns and 23 runs.
For most successful pitching and catching combinations, there needs to be a sense of camaraderie between the pair, and with Hahn and Springer, that is clearly evident.
“Their chemistry comes from friendship and they have their days where they work together,” Highland head coach Carrie Wieland said. “They know each of them has a job to do and they work hard in the offseason. Katie has worked with (her pitching coach) and has done some really good things with her pitches and Courtnee has done a good job learning those pitches. They work together. Katie Jo’s job is to throw strikes, and Courtnee’s job is to make her look good. We are proud of the battery.”
As the season winds down and districts begin next week, the team has its eyes set on one goal: the state tournament. After an early exit from the postseason last season, Springer and Hahn are confident and prepared to advance very far this year.
“I feel relaxed all the time,” Springer said. “We are ready.”