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William Byrd softball team hopes strong start will lead to strong finish

Experience, leadership make up 2018 Lady Terriers

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VINTON, Va. – The William Byrd Lady Terriers have made a case that they are a force to be reckoned with on the diamond. Led by its coach of 18 years, Greg Barton, Byrd has tallied an impressive regular-season record and has started 2018 at 10-0.

"It's the continuity between the kids," Barton said.

"I've been around a long time and I've never had kids gel like this together. You know, you always have a little drama but, knock on wood, we haven't had that yet and they really all have the same goal."

There's a solid mix of hitting and pitching that forces the Terriers' opponents to pick their poison. The team is hitting .426 for the season, with eight players batting over .400 individually. Ace pitcher Mara Strum has had 56 strikeouts and has only given up 14 hits.

"I put a big emphasis on myself and my own practice, on fixing pitching and hitting, because I just, I love pitching and I love defense but I also need to contribute to my team offensively as well as defensively," said Strum. 

Shortstop Megan Grant leads the team in hitting, averaging .600 thus far. 

"We feed off of each other's energy. If one person gets a hit, we all end up getting hits and we just keep rolling with that," Grant said. 

The Lady Terriers are a team comprised of veteran leadership and experience. They're hoping that will be the key to unlocking the door to postseason success. In the past two years, Byrd's season has ended in the regional round of the playoffs. So, this spring, they are not thinking too far ahead. 

"It's mainly just staying focused each game, regardless of who we play. We have to stay focused. We take it one game at a time. That's been our goal this year," said Barton.

While the season will come to an end at some point, the players' careers will continue. Four of the Lady Terriers have already committed to play at the college level: Mara Strum will play for Virginia Tech, Megan Grant will play at Elon University, Ellasen Spangler is heading to Roanoke College and Katie Fuchs will play for Bethany College. 

"Working a little bit every day to get better in the long run," Grant said.


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