After encouraging finishes in each of the past two seasons, Reservoir softball coach Julie Frisvold figured this year’s senior-laden team would be, in her words, “strong.” She did not expect, however, that the Gators would jump out to a 13-1 start marred only by a 6-0 loss Friday to defending county champion Howard.

The difference between her preseason expectations and reality was a component Reservoir possesses for the first time in Frisvold’s seven seasons at the helm. The Gators trailed Marriotts Ridge in the second game of the season, but ended up winning, 7-5. The next day, Reservoir fell behind North County early, but claimed an 8-4 victory. The Gators, Frisvold said, have posted five come-from-behind wins this season.

“We came back from a deficit against North County, and that’s when I was like, ‘Okay, they’ve got the gumption or the will power to come back,’” Frisvold said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “They don’t get down, and that’s a rarity that I haven’t had before at Reservoir.”

Centerfielder Megan Maloney and second baseman Amy Bresson are two of the nine seniors that have sparked Reservoir’s solid start. And even though the final result of Friday’s loss to Howard wouldn’t suggest it, senior pitcher Rachel Brown has performed well of late, too, Frisvold said.

The Gators’ game plan against Howard was to hit the ball hard and on the ground. They made consistent contact, but mostly on balls hit in the air. Also, Frisvold said, her team was not as aggressive defensively as she would have hoped.

Still, with six regular season games to play, Howard and Reservoir each have just one loss against Howard County opponents.

“I’m hoping that we’ll get to see [Howard] again,” Frisvold said. “They’re a phenomenal team. It’s fun to play them. But at this point, we’re looking to play solid for the rest of the season so that we can get a really good regional seed and go into regionals and do the best that we can.”

OP’s Field goes to the circle

Erica Field set the official Virginia High School League single-season record for RBI last year, but the Osbourn Park catcher knew her team could use her in a different capacity this year for her senior season.

Field recognized the Yellow Jackets would lack depth in the circle, so the honorable mention All-Met and James Madison recruit spent her offseason learning how to pitch.

“It started around September,” Field said. “We were going to be hurting for pitching so I figured I’d practice some. It’s definitely a different perspective.”

Field developed a drop ball, rise ball and changeup from scratch, and she has pitched in eight of the 10-1 Yellow Jackets’ first 11 games so far this season.

Field is hitting .643 and her 37 RBI put her on pace to shatter the state record of 53 she set last year, but as Osbourn Park sits atop the Virginia AAA Cardinal District with seven games to play, Field’s pitching has been nearly as important as her hitting.

“She’s just a total athlete whether she’s pitching, catching or hitting,” Osbourn Park Coach Tim Garner said. “She’s a multi-tool player, and she always seems to come up big at the right time.”