On mostly freezing afternoons so far against biting wind, the all-American Missouri recruit has compiled almost-comically dominant numbers. In six starts, she’s allowed one run on seven hits in 35 innings pitched for a 0.20 ERA, striking out 79 and walking only nine.
“Everything’s been working pretty well,” Finucane said. “Sometimes [a pitch] goes off course because I start to lose feeling in my fingers, but so far everything has been pretty reliable.”
The No. 2 Knights are 6-0, and led by Finucane and three-time All-Met and 2012 all-American catcher Jillian Ferraro, feature a roster that could rival any in the team’s storied history.
O’Connell has won nine straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament championships, including 16 in the last 19 years, and 17 of the past 19 Virginia Independent Schools state titles.
“I think I have the best [pitcher and catcher duo] in the country,” O’Connell Coach Tommy Orndorff said. “We have to feel pretty good about where we are at and where we can go because of that.”
Ferraro, hitting third, and Finucane, hitting fourth, anchor a batting order that has produced more than 11 runs per game so far, offering plenty of support for Finucane in the circle — in case she ever needs it.
Ferraro, a North Carolina recruit, is hitting .450 with three home runs and 16 RBI, and junior second baseman Amanda Ehlers is hitting .579 out of the No. 5 spot. But Finucane has been the offensive star so far as well, hitting .684 with three home runs and 16 RBI.
“I’ve been working in practice and also doing a lot of extra hitting on weekends, but it’s also a confidence thing,” Finucane said. “I was never a big hitter before but I’m getting more comfortable in the box and approaching it mentally like I do when I’m pitching.”
As the weather starts getting warmer, the rest of the area has been put on notice.
“We have a fear of failure and complacency that motivates us to work harder. There’s always something we can do to improve,” Finucane said. “We went 27-1 last season. Our goal this year is to go undefeated.”
Youth is served at Sherwood
Coach Pat Flanagan purposely penciled unknowns into No. 4 Sherwood’s opening day lineup.
Sending a message to her team that an issue from last season would not carry over to this year, Flanagan opted to start ninth graders at second base, third base, pitcher and catcher. The defending Maryland 4A champions still beat Quince Orchard, 13-2.
“There was just a bit of a carryover from something that happened last year that’s over and done with,” Flanagan said. “We just wanted to make sure that everybody was on the same page for this season, and we’re moving forward.”
The move could not have worked better for the 2012 All-Met coach of the year.