Scott sparks Rams in leadoff role

Strasburg's Carey Scott gets a pair of high fives from assistant coaches Wendy DeMaio and Frank Conner during a recent game. Scott has been solid for the Rams this season from the leadoff spot. Rich Cooley/Daily file

STRASBURG — Carey Scott has a new role for Strasburg’s softball team this season. Scott moved into the leadoff spot and has thrived in it.

The junior has helped lead an explosive offense, and said she’s enjoying the new role in the lineup.

“Since I’m the leadoff hitter, I feel like if I get a hit then everybody will follow me, and we’ll just get hits and work together as a team,” Scott said.

Strasburg coach Suzanne Mathias said Scott has made a smooth transition to the leadoff spot, and is a perfect fit for the role.

“I’ve told her that when she hits the ball then everybody else seems to be confident behind her, and they hit along with her,” Mathias said. “When she struggles, they struggle. She’s done a pretty good job at handling [the role].”

Strasburg's Carey Scott stretches before batting during a recent game. Scott is batting .455 this season for the Rams. Rich Cooley/Daily file

It helps that Scott is having her best season as a hitter. She is currently hitting .455 (20 for 49) with five doubles, one triple, 14 RBIs and 18 runs scored.

Scott that she’s worked a lot on her hitting and it’s paid off.

“I feel like I’m just making more contact and just seeing the ball better than in past years,” Scott said. “I just feel like I have more confidence, just tell myself, have fun and just go with it.”

Once Scott gets on, she can quickly steal a base and make something happen on the base paths.

Scott said stealing is one of her favorite parts of the game, and she has 12 stolen bases already this season.

“She’s quick and she reads the ball well,” Mathias said. “She can make good decisions as far as stealing the base, delayed stealing, tagging up.”

While she has led Strasburg’s offense, she’s also a factor in the field.

Scott is one of several pitchers the Rams have used this season. Scott has worked 16.1 innings with a team-best 5.57 ERA. She also has 13 strikeouts.

“I like to pitch,” Scott said. “I just try to pitch strikes and just get it in there so they can make contact of the ball, and hopefully we can get out of the inning fast.”

Mathias said it’s been really nice having several pitchers to go to and not having to rely on just one. Megan Emswiler has had the bulk of the pitching duties, working 29.1 innings, while Katie Smoot has thrown 15.1 innings.

“It’s nice to have a variety of people to go to in different situations,” Mathias said. “I’ve not had that luxury in a long, long, long time. I’ve enjoyed that part of it and trying to figure out whose best against what team.”

Scott said that she doesn’t care where she plays, whether it’s pitching, infield or outfield. Mathias said she’s used Scott mostly at either second or third when she hasn’t been pitching, but she also played one game in the outfield.

The Rams have only 12 players on the team, so Scott’s versatility has been very valuable.

Strasburg started the season off 5-1, and are still 8-6 overall. Offense has certainly not been a problem in most games. The Rams have scored at least 10 runs in seven games, and every starter has scored at least 12 runs this season.

The Rams have struggled against some of the best teams in the district, and Mathias said that’s still a hurdle the young squad needs to jump over.

“It’s just getting that game experience and realizing, ‘Hey, we can compete with everybody,'” Mathias said. “Our bats — I’m feeling pretty good about our hitting. I’m battling the thing of getting it into their head. … I think if we can get that one close win, that’s going to boost their confidence and definitely help us.”

The Rams still have seven games left in the regular season, and Scott said she still believes the team can turn a corner and move up in the district and conference. The Rams beat Warren County earlier this season, after having lost twice to them last year and Scott said that game showed what the team can do.

“When we played Warren County we had a lot of confidence and we just kept hitting and kept hitting,” Scott said. “We just stayed on top the whole time, and that helped us out with our confidence a lot.

“I feel like we need to get better at not getting down on ourselves. Our biggest thing is just getting down if a team scores early in the game on us. We just have to have confidence in ourselves.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com