Trio leading Lady Wolves into postseason

Posted Monday, Apr. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Last season’s Timberview softball team played its final game of the season with the playoffs on the line and came up short.

But a nucleus of players and a team shuffled to new positions has spelled success for the 2013 Lady Wolves and a earned them a district championship.

Timberview concluded its regular season last week by beating Cedar Hill 9-1 and capped an undefeated district schedule. They finished the regular season at 21-4-1 and a perfect 14-0 in district.

Head coach Donya Mooney said the difference this year has been the dramatic improvement in hitting and defense.

Make no mistake, the Lady Wolves have had timely hits and seem to truly be inspired by seeing teammates on base. Mooney said their batting average with runners in scoring position was extremely high.

But don’t discount the defense and a freshman in the circle leading the charge for Timberview.

Mariah Denson, the freshman pitcher whose talent was well-known before her varsity career began, has helped lead the team regardless of her age.

“I feel like we are all pretty equal out there,” Denson said. “A big key is having a good catcher behind the plate and a good defense behind me.”

Also subscribing to the “we is greater than me” team motto are junior catcher Ashley Timmons and third baseman Ashley Tharp.

Timmons came in from the outfield to crouch behind the plate and help keep Denson steady.

Tharp was the starting pitcher for the Lady Wolves for the last three seasons and had an ERA that was in the top 25 of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Timmons and Tharp weren’t the only players to find themselves at a different defensive position.

Mooney said that after the off-season makeover, only two players are still at the same position as last year. Only the center fielder and first baseman remain the same.

A senior on a junior-laden team, Tharp helps anchor the defense but says having a freshman on the mound isn’t a weakness of their leadership.

“We never really doubted it for a minute,” Tharp said of Denson’s ability to lead. “We knew the potential she had and (that) our defense would back her up.”

Timmons echoed the confidence in the field, even with a freshman battery-mate.

“She doesn’t seem like a freshman at all to me,” Timmons said. “She knows what she’s doing and is as experienced as the rest of us.”

Although solid defense can keep you in most games, it’s Timberview’s offense that has been turning heads around the area.

Timmons has been belting the ball, hitting an average of about .438, adding five home runs this season to her career total of 14.

“We’re so much better at hitting this year,” Tharp said.

Tharp, the lead-off hitter, said better hitting has been a missing ingredient. “That has come together which is what we were missing,” she said of the improved batting average. “We’re called the Bomb Squad,” she said proudly.

Even with defense, pitching and hitting, some teams still miss a key element.

“We play for each other, not ourselves,” Timmons said. “We get along with no drama,” which can be rare for a collection of high school girls.

“I think that’s a lot of the difference,” Tharp added. “There’s no drama and we get along so well. We’re making something work.”

Mooney agreed.

“A huge part of our success is that we have each others’ backs,” Mooney said.

Teams around the district have taken note of the new mindset at Timberview.

“My cousin plays for Mansfield,” Timmons said. “They’re scratching their head as to why we’re so good this year. They didn’t see that one coming.”

Having won their first district championship and earned their first playoff appearance in 5A, Timberview is now focused on their first-round, best-of-three series with Copperas Cove on April 26-27 in Waco.

“We’ve already talked about the playoffs, and we’re all ready for that on the 26th,” Tharp said. “We really want to push toward the state tournament.”

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