Athlete of the Week: Waldron thriving in leadoff spot for Falcons

Shennan Waldron

WOODSTOCK – Central High School senior Shennan Waldron has been supplying the consistency in the Falcons lineup that is often expected of four-year varsity starters. The difference between the present and the first half of the season is that she is doing so from a different spot in the lineup.

Falcons head coach Sue Rubenstein, seeing the need for a dependable catalyst atop the batting order, made the decision two weeks ago that Waldron might be better-suited starting rallies than being tasked with driving runners in from the heart of the lineup and bumped the senior into the leadoff spot. By coincidence or not, the Falcons are unbeaten in the five games since Rubenstein made the switch.

“She was a consistent hitter but we decided a little after midway through (the season) that we’d go ahead and put her at the top because she is so consistent,” Rubenstein said on Thursday. “These girls work on positive energy, as most do, and when you start off with a hit, it snowballs and it seems to be working really well for us right now.”

The midseason switch hasn’t silenced Waldron’s bat. In two games last week – her second and third games at leadoff for the Falcons in 2017 – Waldron went a combined 4-for-7 with two doubles, an RBI and five runs scored as Central picked up a pair of victories in a performance worthy of The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week honor for April 24-30.

Waldron’s week began with a three-hit effort against William Monroe, a game in which she hit two doubles and scored three times in the Falcons’ 9-6 win on April 26. Two days later the senior shortstop picked up another hit, drove in a run and scored twice in a blowout over Rappahannock County.

Waldron, who is now in the middle of a six-game hitting streak after picking up hits in Central’s two games this week, is batting .472 this season, one of the best marks in the coverage area this spring.

“I’ve been on a travel team over the summer and I’ve done a lot of hitting on my own. That’s really helped me at the plate,” said Waldron, who joined the Loudoun Storm last summer and added that she’s seeing the benefit this spring of experiencing tougher practices and better competition in travel ball.

“I try not to think too much when I get in the batter’s box. I just go up there and try to get a base hit.”

With three games remaining in the regular season, Waldron leads Central in batting average, slugging percentage (.717), hits (25), doubles (eight) and runs scored (18). She’s had multiple hits in 10 of Central’s 17 games.

Part of that success can be attributed to Waldron’s soaring confidence level, a nice product of being an everyday starter for the Falcons since her freshman season. But Rubenstein said her shortstop, a smooth fielder from the left side of the diamond, has been gifted with quick hands that shine on the field and in the batter’s box, adding that Waldron’s bat “just takes off.”

“She is just a real smooth leader,” Rubenstein said. “She’s very level headed. She doesn’t get too over-excited. She doesn’t stay under-excited. And she’s such a natural ballplayer that I don’t think I’ve seen anyone with faster hands than Shennan.”

Those hands, which have already hit twice as many doubles as she had all of last season, also blasted the first home run of Waldron’s high school career in a win over Clarke County on Tuesday.

“They were all joking like ‘it’s about time you hit one,’ because all my doubles, they’ve landed at like the top of the fence so many times,” Waldron said with a laugh.

And while that 7-2 victory over the Eagles earlier this week included that landmark homer for Waldron, she said the win also accurately showed how much the Falcons (10-7) have grown as a team since the start of the 2017 season.

“I’ve definitely seen a change from the beginning of the season until now,” Waldron said. “Especially in our game against Clarke, that’s the best we’ve played together as a team.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com