May has long held special meaning to Greenwood Community High School softball coach Stephanie Senac.
Not only is it the month of her birthday — which, by the way, was Monday — May also ensures celebratory candles for her sister, mother and soon-to-be 1-year-old daughter, Kinsley.
From a strictly softball standpoint the Woodmen are 5-0 this month, having outscored the opposition, 43-10. They are 18-1 overall and ranked fifth in Class 4A entering the annual Johnson County Tournament, which begins Friday. The lone misstep is a 6-5 Mid-State Conference loss at Martinsville.
“The girls this season have done a great job of being aggressive, and we’ve been taking advantage of mistakes the other team makes,” said Senac, whose squad averages 7.3 runs per game and has built a 15-game win streak.
“We ask everyone on this team to give 100 percent all the time, and they’ve done a great job of doing that.”
Greenwood as a team is batting .388 with 21 home runs and 41 stolen bases. Opposing batters don’t fare nearly as well thanks to the Woodmen’s one-two pitching punch of sophomore Megan Overton and senior Brittany Gray.
Overton has put in 60 innings of work with an 8-1 mark and 2.22 earned run average. Gray has pitched 52-2/3 frames and is 7-0 with a microscopic ERA of 0.27. Overton has 92 strikeouts compared to five walks, while Gray has fanned 75 and walked eight.
“They’re equal as far as velocity goes,” Senac said. “There are a lot of games where we don’t know who is going to pitch until warm-ups. We’ll see who is hitting their spots and go from there.”
When she doesn’t pitch, Gray, who a year from now will be playing softball at the University of Georgia, plays first base. Overton moves to shortstop when not on the hill.
Meanwhile, some of Greenwood’s nastiest statistical numbers belong to catcher Davis Carter.
Aside from hitting .350, the senior has belted nine home runs, produced 26 RBI and owns a slugging percentage of .883 — all team-highs. Carter is also responsible for five doubles and has been walked on five occasions.
Rounding out the Woodmen infield are senior second baseman Bridget Pepper (.435, 19 RBI) and third baseman Rachel Overton (.426, seven doubles, five HR), another senior. Others who have performed infield duty are sophomore Natalie Raker and senior Stephanie Smith (.438, 15 runs).
Junior Dani Speas (.342) is the team’s constant in centerfield with any of three players — freshman Ryan Bauer (.368, 14 RBI), junior Emily Ott and Smith — holding down the remaining outfield positions.
Sophomore Paige Wilson and junior Joslyn Leverett are hitting .407 and .261, respectively.
Senac also is quick to praise the practice and game input of Greenwood assistant coaches Greg Norwood and Donny Harper, whose teachings show up in boxscores only through the efforts of others.
“With our high expectations before the season this is about where we thought we would be,” Gray said. “This year we’re a closer team than we’ve been in the past.”
The program’s distant past is where its two sectional championships reside (1985 and ‘88).
It’s here May could become all that more memorable for the Woodmen what with the county tourney, seven more scheduled regular-season games and the Franklin Sectional upcoming.
As for the success Greenwood has so far savored this spring, Senac isn’t surprised.
“This is probably the most positive team I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching. They cheer for one another and realize this is a special team. They just want to enjoy the ride,” she said.