CHAMBLEE – The Chamblee Lady Bulldogs have been on a pretty good roll to the season so far behind the play Rachel Lovejoy.
The Lady Bulldogs are sitting at 11-4 on the regular season and have been floating around the top three in Region 5-AAAAA’s standings.
Part of the success of the Lady Bulldogs has come from Lovejoy. A .583 batting average, 21 RBIs and three total home runs have placed the talented athlete at the top of the stat sheets.
Lovejoy says that the start to the season is what she hoped would happen.
“It’s definitely what I hoped would happen, as I played against very tough pitching during the summer,” Lovejoy said. “However, I do know that nothing’s a given and do my best to just focus on one bat at a time. This season, I’ve focused more on having fun, because that’s often when I do my best and that mindset and my hard work have been paying off so far.”
Last season Lovejoy was a huge thorn in the side of opposing pitchers at the plate and was at the top of DeKalb County in hitting. Having another stellar season at the plate just went along with the high expectations she placed on herself.
“I was definitely coming into this season looking to improve upon my stats from last year,” Lovejoy said. “I didn’t have as many challenges as I expected to have while adjusting to high school softball. The pitching is at a lower caliber than what I experienced in travel ball, so I was looking to make an impact right from the beginning.”
Lovejoy’s experience playing travel ball found her not having to make any mechanical changes to her swing but, there were some changes she made to stay ahead.
“I changed my approach at the plate. The pitching I’ve faced so far has been slower than I’m used to, so I’ve had to learn to let the ball travel longer before swinging,” Lovejoy said. “Recently, I made a couple of adjustments that have led me into another hot streak, after I struggled through a rough patch of hitting. The adjustments were fairly small, but allowed me to stay back on the ball and get more power behind my swing, which has definitely been evident the last couple of games.”
Lovejoy is just one player who’s been at the top of the hitting charts but the season relates to her teammates who’ve also been tearing the cover off the ball. Lovejoy mentions Mary Axelson has been hitting well this season.
“She’s been doing so well, that it’s made me work harder. Her sister, Margaret Axelson, is our first string pitcher and is also a freshman,” Lovejoy remarked. “Last year, we lost two lights out pitchers, and Margaret has done a great job filling their shoes. Our catcher Ansley Mepham has caught the majority if not all of, the games we’ve played so far. She’s incredibly reliable behind the dish and has thrown out many runners. She’s also hitting really well. Everyone is contributing to this team, even the bench players, who are always cheering us on and stepping up whenever needed. It’s a great group.”
Lovejoy has been meshing well with Mary Axelson over the past few years especially in her final season.
“We’ve been playing together since we were little and we’ve grown really close this season. In orchestra, we’re always talking about the upcoming game and our plans for getting a win,” Lovejoy said. “It’s been so much fun playing with her because we’ve established a friendly rivalry with regards to our offense. Whenever Mary gets a hit, I make sure I do my best to get a hit as well. We both push each other to play better and that has resulted in us becoming better players.”
With the season nearly halfway over and plenty of time left for Chamblee to capture the region lead, it’s just a matter of keeping stats and records out of the players’ minds now.