Focus, senior leadership pushes Beavercreek softball to best season in nine years

Beavercreek senior Paige Weekley had provided key offensive support for the Beavers. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

Combined ShapeCaption
Beavercreek senior Paige Weekley had provided key offensive support for the Beavers. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

BEAVERCREEK – They’ve come close several times since their last winning season in 2012. It’s been the little things – like taking a pitch-by-pitch mentality – that pushed the Beavercreek Beavers softball team over the top this time.

Beavercreek guaranteed itself a winning season nine games ago with a 13-1 start. Now 18-3, the Beavers are one of the teams to beat in the Division I sectional tournament that starts next week.

Key to their success are five seniors who play a variety of roles.

Shortstop Alyssa Lewis keeps her teammates focused and involved. Left-fielder Courtney Knight is a strength in the outfield. First-baseman Paige Weekley is among the Greater Western Ohio Conference leaders in runs batted in and homers. Reece Smith has come up with clutch pinch-hits in key situations. Courtesy runner Claire Wellbaum is aggressive on the basepaths subbing for the Beavers’ pitcher and catcher.

“What’s really cool about all five of them is they each have a unique role,” Beavercreek coach Megan Barrett said. “They’re not all necessarily starters, but they know what we need them to do. They’re all an intricate part of our team’s success.”

In addition, junior Shelby Metzger is hitting .463 at lead-off and junior Caitlynn Newlen has knocked in 20 runs and is a key defensive player at third base.

Then there’s freshman Haley Ferguson. She leads the Beavers with a .517 average, 26 RBI and five homers. She’s also 15-3 in the circle with a 0.87 ERA. She has 184 strikeouts in 112.2 innings pitched.

Combined ShapeCaption
Bevercreek freshman Haley Ferguson ranks among the top hitters and pitchers in the GWOC. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

Bevercreek freshman Haley Ferguson ranks among the top hitters and pitchers in the GWOC. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

Combined ShapeCaption
Bevercreek freshman Haley Ferguson ranks among the top hitters and pitchers in the GWOC. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

“Her approach mentally to the game is a big part of what makes her successful,” Barrett said. “It’s very unique for someone as young as her to be able to mentally separate herself from taking it pitch by pitch.”

Barrett is in her second season as head coach and has been with the program for eight seasons. She played her high school softball at Lakota West, a program currently ranked No. 1 in the Division I state poll.

She’s implemented some of what she learned with Lakota West and focused on fundamentals. The increase in Beavercreek’s players participating in travel ball has also helped the program’s upswing.

Beavercreek’s three losses have come to Miamisburg and Centerville. Miamisburg beat Beavercreek 7-5 and 2-1 in extra innings. Centerville won 7-5.

“Every one of those losses has been a mental loss,” Barrett said, “something we can bounce back and learn from and grow from so we can be successful hopefully when we see them in the tournament.”

Miamisburg earned the No. 1 seed in the Dayton sectional and Beavercreek was voted No. 2. They’re in different brackets so they wouldn’t meet until the regional tournament.

“Our mix of seniors and younger talent has been a really great combination for that success,” Barrett said.

“Unfortunately there are only nine to 10 starting spots in a lineup, but each of them has an important role. They know that role and they’ve accepted that role. I don’t think that’s something every high school team has done. To see this team accept that at this level is very impressive.”

About the Author