Cardinal O'Hara's leadoff hitter, Maura Kane, knows if she can find a way on base, she is likely to come around to score.
Hitting behind Kane is last season's Catholic League MVP, Emily Loomis. And if Loomis can't come through, next up is senior Annemarie Banes, who was also a first-team all-Catholic selection last year.
"I know one of them is going to come up and hit a bomb," said Kane, a senior. "And I'm going to be sprinting around the bases."
Cardinal O'Hara won the first Catholic League regular-season championship in school history last season. The Lions advanced to the league championship game for the first time as well. However, the team could not capture its first league title.
Archbishop Ryan used a diving catch in the bottom of the seventh inning to strand the tying run on base and pull out a 4-2 win against O'Hara in last year's championship.
"It's always on our minds, that final game," Loomis said. "We were so close. We almost won it and it slipped right out of our fingers."
"Instead of focusing on how we lost, this year we're kind of just focusing on how we can get back and bring it home," Kane said.
O'Hara coach Bob Adams describes the 1-2-3 punch at the top of his lineup as "scary."
Kane was a second-team all-Catholic league selection, hitting .469 with two doubles, two triples, and 10 walks. Loomis hit .429 with three triples, one double, and 20 RBIs as the team's No. 2 hitter. Banes hit .481 with four doubles, three triples, and 15 RBIs in the No. 3 spot. She also posted a .725 on-base percentage.
"It's really threatening for other teams, how well Emily, Annemarie and I know how to hit the ball," Kane said.
The trio produced a run almost every time they went to the plate last season. Adams said the Lions scored at least one run in the first inning in all but two games.
"Us three at the top, we blend well together, and we know each other's style of hitting," Loomis said. "We score runs out of it."
Kane, Loomis, and Banes are also standouts in the field for the Lions. Loomis plays second, Banes plays shortstop, and Kane plays third base.
Banes and Kane have been playing together on varsity since their freshman seasons. Loomis joined them sophomore year. Last season, Kane moved from center field to third base, giving the three seniors a year of experience playing together in the infield.
"When they're on their game, nothing gets through that infield," Adams said.
Adams, who has been an assistant at O'Hara for the last six years, is giving his seniors a lot of responsibility in his first year as head coach. For example, the trio called a "captain's practice" last week.
"I'm giving them the reins," Adams said. "I'm giving them a lot. They want to win this. They want to leave O'Hara with a league title."