Greenbrier softball pitchers Kristan Glover (left), Jeni Massingale and catcher Ashlee LaFontaine are in the Athlete Spotlight.
Photo by Jim BlaylockPlaying behind the plate for the Greenbrier High School softball team can be sweaty assignment, but there's a saving grace for Lady Wolfpack catcher Ashlee LaFontaine.
With Greenbrier pitchers Jenni Massingale and Kristan Glover striking out so many batters this season, the futile swings and misses have let LaFontaine labor in a steady breeze.
Through 27 games, Glover fanned 191 batters, while Massingale sat down another 58. The strong-armed sophomores have been dominating this season, pacing the Lady Pack to a team earned run average of .086.
"I'd put our one-two up against anybody. That's how good I feel about those two girls," Greenbrier coach Garrett Black said of his hurlers.
With her heady play at catcher, LaFontaine rounds out the dynamic trio.
"She's been outstanding. There's no other word I can use," Black said. "Ashlee might have improved more than anybody out here, just from a leadership standpoint and taking charge behind the plate."
Glover was the Region 3-AAAA Pitcher of the Year as a freshman, and has been even better in 2002. She has more than a dozen different pitches, with a fastball clocking in at 64 mph.
"This season has been really fun," she said. "Our defense has a lot to do with it. They've made some spectacular plays behind me, but that's kind of expected."
Like Glover, Massingale has been pitching since she began playing softball, and being on the mound has its rewards.
"Pitching is one of the best spots on the field, because you get a lot of action," said Massingale, who puts an eight-pitch arsenal to good use.
"It's my game to control. Softball is 90 percent mental, and you have to have confidence in everything you do."
With the two flame throwers on the hill, LaFontaine says she sometimes adds padding to her mitt to cushion the impact. Her ego, however, needs no extra padding.
"Pitchers deserve all the credit, because they have to throw the pitch and be on target. All I have to do is catch the ball," LaFontaine said. "Catching is a hard job, but winning is enough accolades for me."
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