Northside sophomore Raelee Weaver took on a big role as one of the Lady Patriots’ go-to pitchers in 2017. Weaver quickly proved herself worthy of the job and was instrumental in Northside’s season to remember.
Weaver and fellow pitcher Hannah George were the dynamic duo in the circle for a Northside team that was nearly untouchable for an entire season. Weaver was relentless in the circle, going 11-0 with 56 strikeouts in 59.2 innings of work. She notched playoff victories in the first and second round en route to the Lady Patriots’ first state title in program history.
Thanks to her consistent work in the circle, Weaver has been named the 2017 All-Bi-City Fall Softball Pitcher of the Year.
“This season was very memorable and a very enjoyable journey,” Weaver said. “It was full of hard work, passion and dedication. It took a lot of work -- emotional and physical -- to become No. 1 in the state. Everyone knew how talented our team was before the season had even began, but the connection our team has definitely helped us through the long months of working for the ring.”
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No bond might have been more important than the one between Weaver and George. Weaver said she constantly fed off George’s positive attitude and often turned to her with questions if one of her pitches was not working.
Weaver only gave up 10 earned runs all year, which either means she didn’t need a lot of advice or George’s tips were spot on. Regardless, Weaver paid close attention to the example George set, which will likely pay dividends for Weaver going forward.
“(Hannah) exemplified what it takes to be the best of the best, and I strongly looked up to her as a pitcher and as a senior,” Weaver said. “I learned that whatever attitude the pitcher has, the rest of the team will also carry the same attitude. I think that’s one of the main reasons Hannah and I always motivated each other, so that our team would never be down.”
Weaver played third base when George was in the circle, which means she was on the field when George notched the title-clinching strikeout against Stephens County. For Weaver, the moment was a surreal one that made all the highs and lows of a season worthwhile.
With George’s graduation, Weaver will likely be looked at as the new No. 1 for Northside. She said her goal is to improve in all facets of her game this offseason, including being mentally tougher. That aspiration is one Weaver likely keyed on because of George, who never had her head down no matter the score.
Weaver will certainly have big shoes to fill going forward, but based on her performance in 2017, there’s no reason to think she won’t conquer yet another challenge.
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports