Hough’s Shifflett looking good at the halfway mark
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – Katelyn Shifflett has been an excellent softball player her two seasons at Hough High. The best part is she’s only at the halfway point.
Shifflett, a sophomore shortstop, was the centerpiece of the Huskies’ 19-7 team that reached the state playoffs in its second season. She was splendid offensively and defensively, batting .432 with team-highs in runs (31), hits (35) and RBIs (32), home runs (four) and extra-base hits (11).
Shifflett is the Herald Weekly 2012 Softball Player of the Year.
“Making it to the conference championship and being able to play in that game at UNCC was the highlight for me,” Shifflett said. “With the help of Coach G (Mary Lee Giurintano) I was able to improve my swing a lot. And defensively, I was able to improve my game overall.”
Hough finished second in the I-MECK 4A conference regular season and lost to Lake Norman in the tournament championship game.
Giurintano said Shifflett’s work ethic is what sets her apart.
“She comes to practice every day trying to get better,” Giurintano said. “Katelyn is a leader at practice. Even though she’s one of the better players, she’s still trying to better herself.”
Shifflett is honing her skills playing with the Lady Blues U-18 Elite team this summer. She said the key to improving isn’t any great secret. It’s repetition, whether that’s fielding countless grounders or taking batting practice.
The leadership role Shifflett takes on isn’t forced or heavy-handed.
“It’s natural, I’m out there doing what I love to do,” she said. “If I can help someone else, that’s great.”
Shifflett had 10 games with two or more RBIs this season. She had nine multiple-hit games and a .691 slugging percentage. After a few errors in the early going, Shifflett made just one error in the final 11 games.
Shifflett has a ballplayer’s lineage. Her dad Barry was an All-American baseball player at UNC Charlotte and played two years in the minor leagues. He often works with his daughter at improving her game.
“I know everyone makes errors, but I want to strive to make my defense the best it can be,” Shifflett said. “It’s an honor to be a part of the program, since we’ve done so well the past two years. And, seeing how things could work out next year. I’ll think we’ll do just as well, if not better.”