Green softball works way to top of Federal League

Andy Harris
Suburbanite correspondent
Green Bulldogs

GREEN – Getting to the top of the Federal League softball race is a battle in every sense of the word.

After more than half a decade in the league following a move from the Suburban League, the Green Bulldogs have slowly scrapped their way to the forefront of arguably the best softball league in the area and they’ve done it fresh off a missed season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

First-year head coach Brent Collinsworth has a young team that has played like anything but a group without a ton of varsity experience. The obvious question is how they’ve done it so quickly.

“The biggest key to our success this season has been the team coming together,” Collinsworth said. “We are very young and we were not able to play last year due to spring sports being canceled. Couple that with a new coaching staff and the key was for everyone to come together and get on the same page.”

The chemistry and connection is no small feat, but in fastpitch softball, good pitching is the ultimate equalizer and the Bulldogs have gotten than in abundance. A pair of sophomore hurlers have made their mark for a group that has just three seniors on the roster and two starters back in the lineup from the 2019 season – the last one before the pandemic wiped out the 2020 campaign.

Avery Robinson and Jenna Pulley have combined to go 12-1 on the mound and both have sub-2.00 earned-run averages. Robinson is a sparkling 8-0 with a 0.90 ERA, establishing herself as Green’s top starter. Pulley isn’t far behind, going 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA. That dynamic duo accounted for 12 of Green’s first 13 wins in a 13-3 start that includes a 6-2 league mark.

“The young players were put into spots early and have come through nicely,” Collinsworth said.  “Both of these girls have not only carried most of our innings, but have performed incredibly well in the Federal League. The combined pitching staff's ERA for the year is 1.60.”

The pitching has been strong, but the batting order hasn’t been slacking on its responsibilities.

Sophomore Kylie Gorsuch leads the team in hitting with a .464 batting average, three home runs and 21 RBI, while senior Ella Collinsworth is hitting .379 and has scored 15 runs.

Proving that the Bulldogs are receiving contributions from all four grade levels, freshman Mckenzie Collinsworth is hitting .368 with 10 RBI and junior Maddie Pukansky is hitting .365 with 10 RBI and 17 runs scored.

The goals, not surprisingly, include both regular-season goals and tournament aspirations.

“Our goals for this season are still to win the Federal League (regular) season title … we are currently 6-2 and only half a game behind Perry (and) we also have a goal to be playing late in May, which means we are winning in the tournament,” Collinsworth said.

A veteran of the local softball season, Collinsworth describes the chance to take over the program at Green as “one of the best experiences of my coaching career.” Winning has a way of creating those positive vibes and with the foundation they’ve laid to this point in the season, the Bulldogs are set up for the kind of strong finish they’ve been pointing toward ever since their Federal League debut just over five years ago.