Varsity Q&A: Glenelg softball senior captains Jamie Shaw, Reese Holden led Howard County title run

May 10—Glenelg softball clinched the Howard County title last week with a win against Long Reach. The Gladiators (15-1, 14-1 Howard County) won nine straight to close the regular season and are the top seed in the Class 2A West Region II playoffs.

Senior captains Jamie Shaw and Reese Holden spoke with the Howard County Times about the county title and their excitement for the postseason ahead.

Note: Questions and answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

When did you get a sense this year's group could be special?

Jamie Shaw: I think it was going into the year. We were going in with coach Anna Pallozzi it being her second year. She's done a great job building relationships between players and coaches. Having her here in her second year and a lot of people returning, I just knew coming in that we had a really strong lineup and we had really good weapons. We have Bella Wisniewski in the circle who's been pitching really great for us this year and also Kaylee Brogan to go in and provide us with a lot of depth on our pitching staff. Going into the year, I knew the circumstances may be a little different. Once we really started going out and beating teams by a lot, I said, 'OK, this year is special.

Reese Holden: I really got a sense actually the end of last season, which sounds weird, but we've always had a good vibe. Our underclassmen have always respected Jamie and I as captains. Being on varsity all four years, I've never seen a team click like we do. We can argue and fight, but we always end up working out what is supposed to come out of the practice or the day.

What were your emotions when you won the county title?

JS: I was really happy that our team was able to pull through. We have a lot of players with a lot of great talent on our team. Also, we all put in a lot of hard work to make our team as good as we are, so it was really rewarding to see the hard work pay off. In that last moment, I think we were all relieved that we had this accomplishment and we're just looking forward to continuing it through the playoffs.

RH: It was unreal. After losing in regionals or losing to Reservoir year-after-year, it was such a happy — but also sad feeling. I felt happy and sad being a senior, because I love this team. I love Coach Pallozzi and it was just such an amazing feeling winning with a team that you love so much."

The first win against top-ranked Reservoir, how much confidence did that build?

JS: It really proved to us that when we put our minds to it and have a good approach and attitude going into the game that we can really do anything. It gave us a lot of confidence, especially the day before we had lost to River Hill. We definitely went into that game with a better approach and mindset. Winning that game really gave us a lot of confidence going into the next couple of weeks and the tough games that followed.

RH: I don't think it was the Reservoir win; I think it was the River Hill loss, the day before. That moment told me, 'We're going to be so good.' The day after, we came back to Reservoir and said, 'We're going to beat Reservoir.' After the win against Reservoir, I think we knew. The second time we played them, we said, 'We're going to win', we weren't even nervous anymore. It wasn't, 'Oh, Reservoir is still really good.' It was, 'We're Glenelg.' We made a name for ourselves this year I feel like.

For you personally and the team as a whole, where do you feel you made the biggest strides from last year to this year?

JS: We have improved in every aspect of the game. Bella and Kaylee have given us great depth in our pitching staff. They really go out there and do the job, what's asked of them and more. Our hitting really came to life this year with a bunch of girls hitting over .500. Our approach has been really good up at the plate. Our defense, we filled some gaps that we had last year.

RH: I think our offseason work. A lot of us play travel and just lifting multiple times a week. I came off basketball season, but I was still lifting three times a week to make sure I was prepared to come in hot for the season. I think we all did. We were lifting, hitting multiple times a week to be prepared to be county champs.

What excites you most with the playoffs coming up soon?

JS: We know that we have a good team going in, but we also know that we're playing a bunch of really great teams as well. I'm looking forward to being competitive. We love the competitive games because we tend to play up to our competition. We really come out strong against good teams and I'm just looking forward to seeing what we're made of and continuing the season.

RH: I really hope we pull out regionals. I'm so excited to see us push through a lot of adversity. We have an injured player and I think adversity is definitely going to be our key word. Frederick County has some great competition and unfortunately, we have to play that being in Class 2A. We're just have to go through adversity and tighten up everything to win and beat good teams.

Who on the team could you see coaching in the future?

JS: I could see Reese being a coach. I think she would be a good coach. She knows a lot about the game. Bella could be a pretty good pitching coach. She knows a lot about her specialty, so I think she could to that."

RH: Jamie. She is screaming at everyone right now as we speak. Me and Jamie talked about making a softball team one day in the future.

If I gave you the choice of a game-saving defensive play or a walk-off hit, which would you choose?

JS: I think that if I were to a game-saving catch it would need to be a diving catch or an over the fence home run robbery, something like that. Playing in the outfield makes me happy because I get to lay out for balls and make some pretty good catches.

RH: A walk-off hit. Hitting is the most fun part of the game. If you're not hitting, you usually hate it.