SLIDELL – Northshore High senior right-hander Montana Young knows the pressure on her heading into her final season as a Panther.
It’s not anything she hasn’t had to deal with before.
The workhorse of coach Marian Eades staff yet again this season, the University of West Florida signee is excited about entering her final season at the Slidell-area campus. Young had an impressive 18-4 record last year as a junior, with an ERA of 0.84. In 142 innings of work she struck out 195 and walked only 14.
“It’s crazy to think how fast my prep career has gone by,” she said. “It honestly feels like it was yesterday that I was walking on the field for the first time and trying out for the team. It’s very emotional because it’s almost over. This is the last time I will be in a Northshore High uniform. Crazy stuff to think about.
“I’m ready for the workload because I have done it before. As a sophomore I pitched in every single game. It makes you become mentally and physically tough to be able to accomplish a feat like that. You have to stay focused through every single pitch.”
Entering her final season, Young said there are still things she must look to improve upon in the circle.
“This is going to sound weird but one of my biggest areas of focus is hitting spots better,” she said. “Hit the corners and not really leave the ball across the middle of the plate. I’m a strike thrower, but I want to make the opposing batters hit my pitch and make the ball move more. If I can accomplish that, I will be better and we will be better as a team.
“I also know I have to be more of a leader on and off the field with this team. We are a very young team. I want to show this young squad of players what is expected of them and lead them in the right direction. Make no mistake, this team is capable of a lot of success. We are hungry.”
That hunger goes back to last season’s 14-inning loss against Destrehan in a pitcher’s duel; something Young said she hopes to have the chance to avenge.
“It’s fueling us,” Young said. “But saying that, we have to realize that this is a new season filled with new challenges. But that game will always be in the back of our heads. I look forward to that challenge again because I believe we can win it now. We just have to stay mentally and physically tough.
“Northshore will be successful this season if we can keep that focus and staying mentally tough.”
The Panthers open the 2020 regular season on the road against Walker on Feb. 24.