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Royal Knight quietly goes about her business

By CHRIS WAGENHEIM
Published April 24, 2007


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A shortstop, not unlike a wide receiver or running back, usually carries a little bit of a swagger; they tend to flash in the spotlight. Sometimes, however, the flash and swagger is traded in for a subtle consistency often missed by spectators.

River Ridge's Shauna Ward is one of those subtle shortstops. A four-year varsity starter, Ward quietly turns double plays, but she won't go out of her way to tell anyone she's good at it.

"I am a consistent player, I'm not a player that is overdramatic for nothing like a lot of the other shortstops are," Ward said. "I play how I play, I don't try to impress anyone."

With a .355 batting average, Ward leads the 21-6 Royal Knights in RBIs. She also has 10 extra-base hits and only five strikeouts, but she won't tell you how good that is.

"I beat myself up a lot," Ward said. "I beat myself up because I want to play well, and I know how I can play. If I don't play up to that, it bothers me."

"Very rarely is she satisfied with her game," coach Ernie Beck said.

On March 25, Ward went 3-for-3 with two triples against Academy of the Holy Names and on April 3 she went 4-for-4 and hit her only home run of the season against Marion County. With nights like those, Beck has no qualms about putting Ward in a pressure cooker.

"If she is up at bat, I am very happy if it is a crucial situation and she has a bat in her hands," Beck said.

Despite tough losses to teams like Land O'Lakes and Alonso, Ward is most upset about losing to rival Mitchell. The Mustangs beat them in extra innings almost two weeks ago.

Mitchell's star player, senior shortstop Ashley Stager, has received a good amount of attention due to her home runs and Florida State scholarship.

"I think I can do what Ashley Stager is doing, but that is not what I want," said Ward, who attend Hillsborough Community College on a scholarship. "If I wanted to go to FSU or go to some big college, I could do that, I have had opportunities to do that, but I prefer to do what I am doing."

Playing since she was 9, Ward has been on travel teams, varsity teams, winning teams and losing teams. One thing is consistent: her coaches and statistics say she is an overlooked talent in Pasco County.

"She's practiced awful hard, she's played a lot of travel ball and she is very athletic," Beck said. "I think overall she is very underrated."

[Last modified April 24, 2007, 00:10:09]


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