Hun Softball Displayed Fighting Spirit, Posting 9-6 Record, Making Prep A Semis
REACHING OUT: Hun School softball player Gigi Venizelos, left, lunges to apply a tag in action this spring. Junior shortstop and co-captain Venizelos starred in the field and at the plate for Hun, which ended the season at 9-6 and advanced to the state Prep A semifinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Trailing by two runs heading into its last at-bat in the state Prep A semifinals, the Hun School softball team wasn’t about to throw in the towel as it played archival Lawrenceville School.
Hun rallied for two runs in the contest at Lawrenceville to tie the game at 5-5 and force extra innings.
Although the Raiders ended up losing 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth in the May 15 contest, Kathy Quirk had no qualms with the effort she got from her players.
“It was a really well-played game,” said Hun head coach Quirk. “We tied the game up in the seventh and we kept plugging away.”
Quirk was not surprised by her squad’s resilience. “We had good leaders. I have always told them, it is not just the wins and losses, it is how you play and how you handle yourself,” said Quirk, whose team ended the 2019 season with a 9-6 record.
“It starts in the team room with your dedication and desire. I think that is the most important part of everything – coming out ready to play.”
Showing dedication and desire, Hun didn’t back down against two of its strongest foes.
“If you look at our record, we were 9-6 and five of the losses were to the same two teams, Lawrenceville and Blair,” said Quirk.
“Each time we played them we got better. The first time Lawrenceville beat us 7-0 and then we lost 4-3 and lost 6-5. It was the same thing with Blair, we lost 6-0 and then the second time it was 5-3, two pitches won that game for them.”
The team’s trio of seniors, Erin Harrigan, Meghan Donohue, and Mary Catherine Shea, made the most out of their time with the program.
“All three of them are going to be missed,” said Quirk. “Erin did a great job on the mound; she came to Hun two years ago as a transfer and bought into the program. Meghan and MC were four-year starters. They never missed a game or a practice in four years, that says something about their intensity and desire. Meghan was a quiet leader and MC was a little more vocal. Meghan always led by example; she was a good hitter for us.”
Going forward, Quirk will be looking for junior stars, shortstop Gigi Venizelos and center fielder Abby Zucatti, to lead the way next spring
“Gigi and Abby are two special players; they really know the game,” asserted Quirk of the pair, who served as team captains this spring along with Donohue and Shea.
“I say they are like two peas in a pod, one is infield, one is outfield. They both make things happen. They are both not only good defensive players but their bats come alive. When Gigi starts a game with a hit, it is contagious. I am looking forward to their leadership again next year. We are going to be a little young.”
The Raiders boast a core of young talent in junior Jackie Drozd, sophomore Hannah Babushak, freshman Katie Angelini, freshman Nora Shea, and freshman Alexis Murdock.
“We have good returners, we have Jackie who has been a starter in left field and does her job,” said Quirk. “We have Hannah as the catcher. Katie came in as a second basemen and really did a nice job. Nora hit well. We have a young pitcher coming back in Alexis.”
In Quirk’s view, the returners will be hungry to turn the tables on their rivals when they get the chance.
“We left unfinished business and they know that,” said Quirk. “We need to work out in the offseason to be successful next year.”