Coming off a softball state tournament appearance in 2010 and 2011’s regional quarterfinal team, Hebron senior pitcher Heather Stearns surprisingly had to step her game up.
She is one of the few remaining leaders from 2010’s state semifinal team and one of the few returning from last season as Hebron (19-9, 5-6) graduated seven seniors in 2011. Since the offseason, Stearns has felt the pressure to carry 2012’s young team on her shoulders from inside the circle.
“She’s really had to hold her own this year.” Hebron coach Staci Jackson said. “She’s really had to show a lot of leadership and she most definitely has. She worked extremely hard over the offseason to really try and get stronger and hold her stamina up because she knows over the past two years during our playoff and state runs – it takes a toll on her.”
In turn, her diligence in the weight room has not only helped her longevity in the circle, separating herself again as one of the area’s leaders in strikeouts with 188, but it’s put her at the top of the home run charts in the Metroplex with 12.
“I think her time is still coming,” Jackson said. “We’ve got three games left in district which are huge and I think her time is coming offensively.”
Hebron heads into potentially its most important game of the season Friday against Plano West, which sits just behind Hebron in fifth place with a 4-7 District 8-5A record with three games to play.
District 8-5A continues to dominate area softball
The distance between No. 3 and No. 30 in the ESPN Fab 50 national polls is approximately 7 miles.
Last year’s state semifinalist Plano continues its domination in 2012 with a 23-3 season record and a 10-1 district record, but the Wildcats are in No. 3 Plano East’s rearview mirror in both the district standings and the Fab 50.
Plano East pitcher Holly Kern has held her own in the circle, putting up a 1.77 ERA, but has had plenty of offensive support from nine players hitting above .300.
The Panthers (26-2, 10-1) took the first game against Plano 8-1, but the Wildcats still have a chance for revenge April 17 in the second-to-last game of the season for both teams.
Also in the Week 6 Fab 50 poll from the area is Mansfield Legacy at No. 42.