Huntingtown Softball Enjoying Fast Start to Season

Huntingtown's softball team has started the 2018 season strongly, though that shouldn't come as a surprise.

The Hurricanes have become regulars in the final four of the MPSSAA 3A state tournament in recent seasons. The Calvert County School has made the 3A state final the past two years, coming up short in the championship against Westminster in 2016, and C. Milton Wright in 2017.

Those experiences have helped this year's Huntingtown team come into the season with plenty of focus.

"This year's team is mostly a veteran group with seven seniors, with a mix of three freshmen. They seem to be meshing well so far," head coach Mike Johnson said. "I think the returning players have gained the knowledge of how difficult it is to get to that final game, and all the hard work and dedication that has to take place to achieve that goal."

That hard work has once again given Huntingtown the look of a team that'll be tough to beat throughout the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference regular season, as well as during the state playoffs.

Huntingtown currently holds a 7-1 overall mark, and started its season with a bang against fellow SMAC powerhouse, Chopticon. It was a closely contested match-up that saw Huntingtown score late to win 2-1.

"We won that game in the bottom of the seventh inning by relying on our experience to manufacture a run to win the game," Johnson said.

Huntingtown reeled off two more wins against North Point and St. Charles before suffering their lone defeat of the season thus far against La Plata in tournament play. Though the Hurricanes did not play all of its regular players because it was a tournament game, Johnson said the group took away a valuable lesson from the loss.

"Whomever is on the field, a full effort must be given at all times," Johnson said. "All our opponents are always going to play us hard."

As for Huntingtown's strengths this season, Johnson quickly pointed to the group's pitching and defense. Huntingtown has held its opponents to scoring one run or less four different times already, and is averaging 2.75 runs allowed per contest.

The team is led by its talented battery unit comprised of senior catcher Ashlyn Hilgenberg, and junior pitcher Tori Fletcher. Huntingtown's defense is solid throughout the field too, especially senior centerfielder Callie Hilgenberg.

It's an aspect of Huntingtown's game that will have to continue to play well if the group is going to continue to be successful- the team has as difficult a schedule as there is in Maryland. The Hurricanes will have it particularly tough from April 14-20 when the group will play Dulaney, La Plata, Northern and Chopticon.

To Johnson, the difficult schedule should help prepare Huntingtown to complete its main objective this season- to flip the script from the past two years, and win its final game of the season.
April 9th, 2018By: Wick Eisenberg

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