To win it twice speaks of that pitcher’s ability to replicate a high level of performance consistently.
With a 0.74 ERA — the lowest of any pitcher in the county — and a 16-win season equaled only by Cherokee’s Savanna Dover, Etowah’s Bridgette Flaherty has done that — all before she has even entered her senior year.
The 2012 Cherokee Tribune Softball Pitcher of the Year, Flaherty was instrumental in guiding Etowah to county-best 21-9-2 record, a third-place finish in the Region 5AAAAAA tournament and a berth into the state playoffs.
Flaherty also played a major part in Etowah amassing a perfect 6-0 record against the other teams in the county, which the Lady Eagles outscored 22-4.
For Flaherty, winning the award for the second straight year did nothing to diminish her excitement of receiving it.
“To win this for the second year in a row, it’s a great honor,” said Flaherty, who has been starting for the Lady Eagles since her freshman year. “We have a lot of good talent in this county, so getting this two years in a row is great. I’m really excited about.”
The award was a hard-earned one for Flaherty, who was competing against the likes of Dover, who was named the Region 5AAAAAA Pitcher of the Year, and Creekview’s Gracie Dorr, who took the Lady Grizzlies to the second round of the playoffs.
Stiff competition is nothing new to Flaherty, who, after deciding at the age of 12 to become a pitcher, has worked to separate herself from the rest of the pack.
“When I was younger, everyone wanted to be a pitcher,” Flaherty said. “I saw being a pitcher as a challenge to separate myself from everyone else.”
In regards to accomplishing her goal to stand out, Flaherty felt she had a good enough season to do so.
“I felt like I had a pretty good year. I feel like I really stepped it up from my sophomore year,” she said. “I just hope I keep getting better at the little things. It’s the little things that will get you into college.”
Already, Flaherty is scouting potential colleges to play softball at, including California, Tennessee and Kennesaw State.
“I’m not sure where I want to go yet, but my dream school is California-Berkeley,” Flaherty said.
But before she can begin to focus on college, Flaherty will have the chance to be Pitcher of the Year for the third consecutive time when she returns for her senior season at Etowah.
“Next year is going to be a completely new team, but I’m really excited for the role I’ll be taking on in my senior year,” Flaherty said. “I’m really blessed to be able to get this far, and I hope I can go just a little farther.”