Westminster senior Emily Maseth was asked who has helped her the most during her softball career.
"My dad," she said. "He caught like 100 million pitches from me."
All that practice paid off. Maseth capped an outstanding career for the Owls with a storybook final season.
She led the team with a .531 batting average, 11 doubles, seven home runs and 29 RBIs. She also pitched to a 15-5 record with a 1.87 ERA, striking out 202 batters in 130 innings.
Of all the pitches she's thrown since she started emulating older sister Ashton by firing fastballs to her father, Rob, when she was just 5, the final pitch of her high school career might be the one she'll remember the most. That's the one that finished off a 10-5 win over Huntingtown in the Class 3A championship game, making the third-ranked Owls the only metro area team to win a state title this season.
"I can't even describe it," she said. "Every year going in you want to finish at College Park, playing for a state championship. It wasn't really expected of us."
It certainly wasn't expected when the Owls were struggling at mid-season, unranked and already having suffered four losses. But Maseth said the coaches and players got together and talked about what they needed to, went on a nice season-ending run that included a win over a top-10 team in Liberty, and then really got on a roll in the playoffs. They won their five postseason games by a combined 32-14, using a triple play started by Maseth to fuel their comeback win in the title game.
"That was the best feeling," she said.
Maseth said she was "pretty satisfied" with the way she played this season and she looks forward to continuing her career at West Chester, playing for coach Diane Lokey. Maseth said she was recruited as a hitter.
"I'm really focused on hitting. If you can hit, you can find your way into the lineup," Maseth said before adding, "if she needs me to, I'll pitch for her."