When her Hun School softball team headed to the Blair Academy last week in the state Prep A semifinals, Kathy Quirk was prepared for a nailbiter.
“I thought we were ready,” said longtime Hun head coach Quirk. “I was hoping we were going to win the game but I felt even if we lost, it would be a close game.”
In the early going, Hun followed that script. The Raiders jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. After Blair responded with three runs in the bottom of the first, Hun pushed across a run in the top of the third to make it a 3-2 contest. Blair responded with two runs in the bottom of third but then the Raiders added another run to narrow the gap to 5-3.
In the bottom of sixth, though, Blair broke open the game with six runs and pulled away to a 12-5 victory.
The defeat to the Buccaneers, who went on to beat Peddie to take the Prep A crown, left Hun with a final record of 9-8 and Quirk with mixed emotions.
“From where we were at the beginning of the season with new people here or there and only one returning infielder, we did well,” said Quirk.
“It was just disappointing to end the season the way we did. We fell apart in the sixth inning.”
Quirk liked the way her players handled things over the course of the season.
“It was a great bunch of girls to coach and just a good group of girls,” said Quirk. “They competed hard and stayed together as a team.”
Hun’s quartet of seniors, Alexa Fares, Kristen Manochio, Lauren Moonan, and Kameran McNair, helped hold the team together.
“When I think of Alexis and Kristen, I will remember that they didn’t miss a practice or a game in four years, you don’t see that often,” said Quirk.
“Lauren came to us as a sophomore and it was the same thing with her. Kam always did whatever I asked of her. She was a back-up first basemen and designated hitter and this year she was the starter at first and pitched for us at the end. The other three seniors were regulars most of their careers but Kam really came into her own this season. I am really going to miss her. She is going to Sarah Lawrence and I hope she plays softball there.”
Hun had some younger players who came up big, including freshman catcher Julie Fassl, junior second baseman Vicky Leach, and junior shortstop Julia Blake.
“Fassl really stepped up, she was the only player in our lineup who didn’t have a strikeout this year,” said Quirk. “Leach did a really good job at second. Blake did a great job all year.”
Quirk believes her returning players can do some great things in the future.
“I am excited about the group that we have coming back,” said Quirk. “We have to work hard and learn from our mistakes to put us back on top. We have some new kids coming in and I think we can come on strong next year.”