They speak softly, carry big bats and approach every game with an air of finality: “Git-r-done” or go home.
“We haven’t won league since I’ve been here — haven’t won it in a really long time,” said junior center fielder Katie Mitchell, one quarter of Southeastern High School’s seasoned Fab Four.
“We came really close last year, but things just kind of fell apart. We just kind of lost our focus, and that’s fueled us this season.”
The Trojans turned heads in 2013 with a 15-2 start, then dropped six of their final eight games, including a 2-1 heartbreaker to Newton in the Division IV sectional final.
Lessons learned, the forward-looking squad takes no win for granted.
“You just never know how a game’s going to go,” Mitchell said. “A lot can happen in an inning — even if you’re up and the game’s almost over.
“When we break in the huddle, we say “finish it!” because it just kind of fuels us. It takes us back to tournament last year and our league record. It makes us angry thinking about the way things ended. It makes us work harder as a team.”
Despite consecutive losses to league leaders Triad and Northeastern, the Trojans (15-4 overall, 8-3 in the Ohio Heritage Conference) remain in the mathematical hunt for their first league title since 2003.
Sparked by the tenacity of no-nonsense standouts Becca Carpenter, Emily Myers, Savannah Sullivan and Mitchell, Southeastern checks in a game behind the Cardinals and Jets (two OHC losses each) with a handful left to play.
“Getting ourselves mentally prepared is the thing from day one that we’ve tried to work on,” said Trojans coach Randy Delaney. “I think I’m going to have double the gray hair, too, trying to get that accomplished.
“Our mental approach isn’t where it needs to be yet to put together a great run, but we’re making big strides.”
A cool-headed senior pitcher bound for Wilmington College, Carpenter is hitting .429 with nine doubles, 21 RBIs and a .589 slugging percentage.
Through 18 games, she’s 10-3 in the circle with a 2.99 ERA and 61 strikeouts, averaging 6.49 per outing.
“I do feel a lot of pressure, like I have to be on my ‘A’ game every day,” the reliable right-hander said. “When I’m not, it’s disappointing, but I know I have a very good defense behind me.”
Batting .350 as a team with six home runs, five triples and 134 RBIs, the complete-package Trojans should have staying power in the D-IV tournament.
“We’ve got everything we need. We just need to take care of business,” said Delaney, whose squad closes the regular season this week with six games in five days. “They’re all important from here.”
Mitchell’s hitting .421 with a team-high 11 doubles, 23 RBIs, and a .737 slugging percentage.
Senior shortstop Myers (.417, three home runs, 18 RBIs) and junior second baseman Sullivan (.404, six doubles, 15 RBIs) are among six Trojans batting .400 or better.
“Winning league would be a really big deal,” Sullivan said during a rainy day workout at the Bat Cave in Springfield. “I’m close to the seniors. I want that for them — to leave high school with a big accomplishment like that.”
Myers offered words of caution.
“From here out it’s just so important to be mentally ready,” she said. “We can’t take a whole game to get ready. By that time, it’s too late.”
Southeastern’s Fab Four (through 18 games):
Katie Mitchell, jr., center field (11 doubles, 2 triples, home run, 23 RBIs, .421 avg.)
Becca Carpenter, sr., pitcher (9 doubles, 21 RBIs, .429 avg., 2.99 ERA, 61 Ks, 10-3 record)
Emily Myers, sr., shortstop (4 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 18 RBIs, .417 avg.)
Savannah Sullivan, jr., second base (6 doubles, home run, 15 RBIs, .404 avg.)