Katherine Sullivan doesn't have an overpowering fastball, but the Washington Township sophomore pitcher's ability to read hitters makes outs more accessible.
Sullivan is 5-1 this season for the Senators (6-2), and she does have 22 strikeouts in 34 innings.
"It's very comforting to know I can read where the batter is standing," Sullivan said. "If they're too far back, I can throw the screwball."
The coaching staff worked with Sullivan on these tactics and countless others last season, but the sophomore admitted that she picked up the process a little easier when she worked with her dad Brian this past offseason.
"He coached me in Little League," Katherine Sullivan said. "He taught me to notice how they stand or if they hunch over, which depends on their stance. If their bat is too far behind their head you know they probably won't be able to catch up with something fast."
Senior Liz Lustgarten was the team's primary pitcher last season, but she missed the first quarter of this season for violating team rules. Sullivan realized her mound time would drastically increase.
"I knew the pressure would be on me," said Sullivan, who primarily patrolled the outfield last year. "Liz is a great pitcher, and I knew I would have to step up. It's been an honor to be pitching varsity this season."
Washington Township coach Jack Corley has been impressed with Sullivan's progress on the mound.
"She can do the job; she's got a great attitude and good control," Corley said of Sullivan. "She's got great location, and she has a great defense backing her up."
Sullivan has confidence in both the infield and outfield, and she believes that helps calm her down.
"Even though I do know how to read hitters, they can still hit my pitches," she said. "Knowing that my defense is there to help me out is reassuring."
Even though Sullivan spent more time on her pitching in the offseason, she's hitting .360 with eight runs scored and three RBIs. She's part of a young nucleus which upset Whiting in the sectional last season and has three 10-run rule wins this season.
She still keeps things in perspective.
"Maybe now we have a chance to intimidate teams," Sullivan said. "I still like to stay in the moment. I know it would be great to think what we can do as seniors, but I want to get too sassy.
"I'm focusing on what is happening now."