Competitive spirit powers Winfield senior’s pitching, field performance
Win or lose, Winfield’s Cartney Schoolcraft competes every play for the Generals softball team.
With Schoolcraft’s combination of drive and talent, the senior pitcher represents a significant factor in Winfield’s success this season.
“I think she’s one of the better pitchers in the Kanawha Valley,” Generals softball coach Steve Hensley said. “I would say the biggest thing about her is she is an extremely competitive player. She really battles and competes out there, whether she is pitching or hitting, especially on the mound. She’s really got a competitive drive to her when she’s pitching. That’s really good to see, because she sets a really good example for the rest of the girls.”
As a junior, Schoolcraft was named to the 2016 West Virginia Class AAA second-team all-state softball squad, as voted by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association, in addition to earning first-team Mountain State Athletic Conference honors.
Because of her effort and on-field talents, Schoolcraft will continue her softball career at Kentucky Christian University.
“I’m definitely competitive,” Schoolcraft said. “I don’t like to lose. I guess you have to work hard to win.”
Beyond pitching, Schoolcraft also contributes defensively as a shortstop and has played center field, too. On the mound, Schoolcraft works aggressively to get ahead of hitters, hitting speeds in the low 60s and using a plethora of different pitches.
“I think her biggest strength, as a pitcher, is she just competes on every pitch,” Hensley said. “Her strength is she’s a strikeout, power pitcher. When you need that strikeout in an inning or in a close game, she can get it. She throws to both sides of the plate very well and up in the strike zone well.
“She can throw a curveball, a drop ball, rise ball, screwball. She’s kind of got them all. I think the biggest thing with her is she’s really driven to compete and to win. She’s just a great, overall competitor and athlete. It’s nice to have that in a pitcher.”
In addition to defense, Schoolcraft contributes offensively as one of the team’s most dependable hitters, typically batting leadoff.
“She’s hit in the top part of our order the last few years,” Hensley said. “She can hit for some power. She’s got some pop in her bat. She runs extremely well. She’s probably our fastest kid.”
Her experience as a hitter also provides the foundation for pitching success, Schoolcraft said.
“You just have to out-think the batter,” she said. “I think, when I’m pitching, what would I not want to swing at, like when I’m hitting. It’s easier, from a hitter’s standpoint of view, pitching.”
With Schoolcraft and Generals in the right mindset, this season looks promising for Winfield, she said.
“I think this season is going really well so far, Schoolcraft said. “Our team has great chemistry. We work well together. Our coaches are awesome. We’ve really built the program the last three years, so I’m excited to see what’s in store for us this year.”