Yough's pitcher-catcher combo carries Cougars to 6-0 start in Section 4-AAA
Every good pitcher is made even better by a good catcher, and that certainly seems to be the case when it comes to Yough softball's Macy Mularski and Allie Harvey.
Mularski is the Cougars' top pitcher, a three-year starter and last year's defensive MVP who has a lot to do with her team's 7-3 start overall and 6-0 mark in Section 4-AAA. Harvey is last year's leading hitter who's been catching Mularski since they were 12 years old playing on the same travel team, said her dad, Yough coach Dutch Harvey.
Dutch Harvey said the juniors have more than 200 wins together in travel ball, and their history of working together pays off for the Cougars.
“If Macy makes a bad pitch she knows about it because Allie will tell her,” Harvey said. “They push each other.”
Mularski is 6-1 this season with a 1.71 ERA, 79 strikeouts and seven walks in 41 innings. The junior said confidence in herself and her teammates has allowed her to pitch well this season. That includes Harvey, last year's offensive MVP with a .484 batting average.
“In a game, if I'm not throwing my pitches right she can tell behind the plate and she'll call timeout and come talk to me and just be like, ‘Everything's good,' ” Mularski said. “We've known each other so long we really click as a pitcher and catcher. She knows what I'm looking for.”
Harvey said having caught Mularski for so many years, she can tell when she's having an off-day or is a little nervous.
“Sometimes when I push her I feel like I'm hurting her feelings, but she knows I mean well,” Harvey said.
Mularski said she appreciates the honesty.
“She has to be honest,” Mularski said. “She can't be like, ‘That was a good pitch,' if it wasn't. That's not going to get me anywhere.”
Yough was 7-7 overall and 6-6 in the section last season, finishing in fifth place. The Cougars' goal this season is to win the section and go on to the WPIAL playoffs.
Senior Rachel Mlinek was in the postseason as a freshman, but the Cougars haven't been back since.
“Anything can happen on any given day, and I think it might be a lot more challenging the second time through (the section schedule), but I believe we can beat any team if we play to our normal level,” Mlinek said. “I 100 percent believe this team has the potential.”
Dutch Harvey said between Mularski's pitching, their overall team defense and their top three hitters — Allie Harvey and freshmen Hannah Bach and Aubrie Mance — hitting over .500, they have the makings of a squad that could go far.
“The goal is to make the playoffs, and if you make the playoffs with nine kids hitting in your order, you're tough to beat,” he said. “We've got the pitching, we've got the defense. We make very few errors, which for a young team is hard to believe, but a lot of these kids have played together a long time.”