Pope is in its second year of rotating starting pitchers, while many of the fast-pitch softball teams in the state of Georgia stick to their ace.
Sophomore Hallie Adams, who was named Marietta Daily Journal Pitcher of the Year as a freshman a year ago, has worked 49 2/3 innings this season. Senior Trinity Pizzuti, who was a full-time starter for Pope in 2016, has already thrown for 48 1/3 innings this year.
The twosome split time last season as well in leading Pope to the Class AAAAAA elite eight and a journey to Columbus.
The reason being — Pope coach Chris Turco said he wants them to be more fresh for the state playoffs, which the Lady Greyhounds have already secured following its 13-0 win over Centennial on Sept. 18.
“We want to keep them fresh to play in the region championship and hopefully in the first and second rounds of the playoffs and beyond,” Pope coach Chris Turco said. “But it is to hopefully get to the playoffs fresh.”
Both Pizzuti and Adams should have plenty of life left in their respective arms once they do reach the playoffs. The Lady Greyhounds (19-3) cruised their way through their Region 7AAAAAA games.
They have won all 13 region contests they have played with one more remaining at Dunwoody today. Adams and Pizzuti only gave up five runs combined in region play while the team plated 164 runs.
The two starters are also known to pitch in the same game. Their vastly different styles can throw off opposing bats.
“I would pitch them both in the same game, and I think it makes both of them a little better because they are so different,” Turco said. “As teams start getting used to one pitcher, and then we bring the other one in, it kind of makes what they do a little more effective.”
So just how different are they?
Pizzuti is not known to strike batters out — she only has 19 on the year — but Turco said she does have better command on the circle as evidenced by the four walks she has given up in 48-plus innings. She says she prefers throwing junk instead of overpowering pitchers and is most reliant on her curve and drop ball.
As a senior who is bound to play at Emory University next year, Pizzuti plays the role of the mentor.
“So the thing I do mostly is to try to focus on leading by example,” Pizzuti said. “I try to set a good example for the other girls, and hopefully that rubs off on (Adams).”
Adams brings the heat when she is on the circle. She is already at 69 strikeouts and her ERA is at 0.73. She even endured an 18-inning scoreless streak earlier this season, which included a 3-0 shutout over the now fifth-ranked Lee County on Aug. 18.
She has a 10-0 record on the year and is also responsible for three no-hitters, which includes the shutout over Centennial last week that secured a playoff berth for the Lady Greyhounds.
And if there are other advantages of allowing Pizzuti and Adams to share innings, Turco said it allows them to bounce ideas off each other.
“We work really well together when we pitch,” Adams said. “We complement each other, basically. When she’s off (her game), I’m on. And when I’m off, she’s on.”