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All-County Softball 2011: Barnhart's Leopards scored in droves

June 17, 2011|By DAN KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com
  • Smithsburg's Katy Barnhart is the 2011 Herald-Mail Washington County Softball Coach of the Year.
Smithsburg's Katy Barnhart is the 2011 Herald-Mail Washington County Softball Coach of the Year.

One can make the argument that Smithsburg coach Katy Barnhart was at the controls of Maryland’s best Class 1A softball team this season.

Sure, Catoctin beat Smithsburg 2-1 in the 1A West final before going on to win the state title. However, the Leopards (18-4) beat the Cougars twice in close regular-season games on the way to winning the MVAL Antietam title by 1 1/2 games over Catoctin.

“They’re a great bunch and they worked really well together,” said Barnhart, who is the 2011 Herald-Mail Washington County Softball Coach of the Year. “They were rooting for each other the entire season and they’re a true team.”

Barnhart — who also won The Herald-Mail’s county girls basketball coaching honors — had the luxury of filling out the county’s deepest and toughest lineup game in and game out. It’s no mistake that seven Leopards made the All-County First Team.

Smithsburg scored 213 runs — 10.1 per game (one of the Leopards’ wins was by forfeit) — and hit .396 as a team with 65 extra-base hits, a .475 on-base percentage and a .549 slugging percentage.

“I’ve never been part of a team like that or seen a high school team that was as balanced as we were in the lineup,” Barnhart said. “As a pitcher for the other team, you don’t get any break, and that was special. It takes a lot of pressure off of (each hitter) as well. They know they don’t have to go 4-for-5 every game, if they have a bad day someone will pick them up.”

The future looks incredibly bright. Six of the Leopards’ seven All-County First Team honorees will return next season, and four of them — Cara Ferguson, Sam Gladhill, Brooke Parks and Kinsey Shifflett — have two more years left.

“You love having a successful season like this one, and thanking the seniors for their hard work and leadership, and then to move on to next year and have such a great group of kids back,” Barnhart said. “Our expectations will be higher, but I think they’ll rise to the challenge and work hard.”

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