Carrying a .667 batting average into this week, it's clear senior shortstop Melanie Slowinski has had her share of big games for No. 1 Glen Burnie.
When asked to pick the best of her four years playing for the Gophers, she took time to consider before coming up with a two-homer game in a win against Arundel during her sophomore year. Another question that had her stumped was what she would be doing if not playing softball. She started playing catch with her father every night in the backyard when she was little, started T-ball when she was 5 and then played travel softball when she was 8.
"Sometimes I'll get sick of it and just don't feel like doing it," Slowinski said. "But then you get that feeling of hitting the ball really hard. Getting a nice hit, you can't describe that feeling. When you hear that ball come off the bat with that pop and you know it's a good hit, you know you have succeeded and all you have left to do is run."
An 'A' student and member of the National Honor Society, Slowinski has signed to play at Rutgers next season. A team captain who pitched her first three years before injuring her arm, she would first like to help the Gophers (6-2 following Thursday's 5-1 loss to No. 8 Broadneck) bring home a state title.
When she's not playing softball, studying or hanging our with friends, she likes to go fishing with her dad and also works at a frozen yogurt shop.
What has been the key to the team's fast start?
The whole team gets along great. Everybody enjoys spending time with one another, works hard at practice, and when you have people getting along and working hard at practice, that's what makes a great team.
Do you miss pitching this season?
I'm not going to college to pitch, so it's not that bad. Sometimes I'll miss it because you're in everything all the time and in control. But I like playing shortstop — it's always been the position I most love to play.
What will it take to win a state championship?
We keep saying "We can do this, we can do this!" We just have to keep working hard and not give up. We have the opportunity, so we just have to take hold of it and do something with it. We just have to make sure we don't get complacent.
As team captain, what are the important traits in a strong leader?
You have to be positive no matter what. If you're losing or if you're in a personal slump, you have to stay positive for the rest of the team. It can't be all about you. It's about the whole team playing as one — that's what makes a team a team. And if you're the leader of that, you have to keep pushing yourself and everyone else to become a better player.
If you strike out or make an error in the field, how do you shake those things off?
You have to understand it happens. All you can do is make up for it another time. All in all it is a game ... and it's going to happen and you're not always going to succeed every time. So if you strike out, you just need to figure out what you did wrong and fix it for the next at-bat.
What were the factors in choosing Rutgers?
My grandparents and basically my whole family live there, so that kind of led me to it. The coaches are really nice, it's a nice school, and they have a lot of majors to consider because I'm not sure exactly what I want to do yet.
What were the early days like fishing with your father?
When I was little, we would ride our bikes to the pond and go fishing. It was always a time to hang out with my dad, riding bikes and fishing and I really liked that.
What do you want to get out of the rest of your senior year?
You kind of want to have your chance, like before college, you want to do stuff where you can relax and have fun doing things like going to the beach and hang out with friends. I'm excited to graduate, but I also want to cherish the time I have left.