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Durant's DeMuth a threat on the mound and at the plate

By BRYAN BURNS
Published March 16, 2007


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Ask Sara DeMuth about her ability on the softball field and it's clear that she's uncomfortable talking about herself.

The truth is, DeMuth, a pitcher and first baseman for the undefeated Durant High School Cougars, doesn't like the limelight - on or off the field.

"I don't like that people are always looking at me when I'm pitching," she said. "I don't like being the center of attention. I'd rather have the whole team get the attention."

Welcome or not, DeMuth's early-season play has put opposing players and coaches on notice.

DeMuth has been the starting pitcher for nine of Durant's 11 games, picking up eight wins and allowing just five earned runs in 54 innings for a 0.83 ERA. Her strikeout-to-walk ratio is a breathtaking 79-8. She has gone a full seven innings six times, including two complete-game shutouts. The team is 11-0 overall and 8-0 in Class 6A, District 8.

"She's really accurate," said catcher Kristen Jones, who, like DeMuth, is a three-year starter. "She hits her spots most of the time. She can pretty much put the ball where she wants to."

DeMuth is just as lethal with the bat. She is third on the team in batting average (.467, 14-for-30) and leads the squad in RBIs (14), home runs (four) and runs scored (12).

And "she's a great defender as a pitcher," said Durant coach Matt Carter.

DeMuth has been perfect in 13 fielding attempts. Her defensive abilities, combined with her other attributes, may make her the best all-around player in the county.

"She's done a real good job pitching," Carter said. "She leads the team in home runs. She's such a strong hitter, but she's not afraid to bunt if that's what's needed. She's just an all-around good player."

But you won't hear DeMuth saying it.

"All the girls look up to her," Carter said. "She's earned their respect. She leads by example. She's kind of quiet, not a big talker, not a big cheerleader. But she gets her points across."

"She is one of our leaders," Jones said. "But she's not as outspoken. Her play speaks for itself. You don't see her let a bad play get her down. If anything, it makes her better."

DeMuth, who would like to play in college "somewhere around the South" doesn't want to be singled out.

"I know if I'm having an off game, there are other players who can bat and field to pick me up," she said. "I still feel like I need to do my best to help the team, but I don't get down when I'm not doing well because we have awesome players. It's not just me."

True, but DeMuth will be counted on heavily to continue contributing like she has if Durant is to advance beyond the regional quarterfinals.

That's where the team's season ended a year ago with a 6-2 loss to Countryside. That defeat was a disappointment for a team that won 20 games as well as a district championship and had been ranked as high as No. 5 in the state poll.

DeMuth feels this team has a better chance of making the state final four.

"We want to go to state and win," she said. "We're good and we can get there, but we haven't played our best yet."

[Last modified March 15, 2007, 07:28:59]


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