By Brian Paglia
Katherine Huey didn’t quite know what her South Forsyth team would be like before the season began. The pitcher and Purdue commitment didn’t attend many of the team’s summer practices because of a busy travel ball schedule.
But she knew one thing: her mound-mate, Kara Bilodeau, was not coming back, and with her went 65 2/3 innings that South had to account for.
No matter. Huey understood: she would be counted on to make up for the loss of Bilodeau’s innings, and she did, going 25-4 with a 1.06 ERA with 148 strikeouts in 178 innings to lead South to a Region 6-AAAAAA and the GHSA Softball State Championships in Columbus and be named the Forsyth County News’ County Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season.
Indeed, Huey’s 178 innings were 61 1/3 more than last season yet lowered her ERA by 0.43. She logged more complete games (22) than last season (10), more shutouts (5) than last season (3) and in so doing helped the Lady War Eagles improve on last season when they fell a game short of reaching Columbus.
Q: You had a great season last year, so what were you hoping to improve on this season?
Huey: “I wanted to be more efficient. Last year, I’d get behind in the count more. … I knew because we lost Kara that I needed to be able to pitch a lot more. We didn’t want to take Emily [Harris] from shortstop. That would change everything. I knew I was going to be pitching a lot, so I had to be able to get ahead in the count.
“In travel ball we play tournaments, and we usually play four games a day. We usually have three, four pitchers, so you’re pitching one, maybe two games a day. But doing two back to back, it’s definitely a lot of pitching, but it’s definitely doable.”
Q: What was the highlight of your season?
Huey: “Probably the walk-off [hit] in the West Forsyth game. When I came up, I was nervous because I had never really been in that situation. I just talked to [South junior] Bianca [Mora]. I was like, ‘Bianca!’ She was trying to calm me down.
“I’m pretty sure I whiffed at the first two [pitches]. I just told myself that no matter what comes out of this just keep your head high and go in there with confidence. I used to always go into the box like, OK, don’t strike out. And then I would always strikeout or do something I didn’t like. But I was like, I’m going to go in with confidence because what’s the worst to come of it? I did, and I got the hit. It’s just a different feeling for me because I’m so used to pitching and getting the pitching win, but never the walk-off hitting win.”
Q: So now you’ve been to Columbus for the state championships. What’s the goal for next season?
Huey: “I want to win it. It still feels sickening thinking about how we could’ve done so much better in Columbus. I know we gave it our all, but I just have so much confidence in our team next year. We’re just as good as anybody else. The team that won it this year, we beat ourselves against them. We had like five errors. We’re just as good as anybody else. There’s no reason why we couldn’t win.”