June 1, 1995 in Washington Voices

Trio Help Bat Rogers Into Strong Finish

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Their four-year term of office is ended.

Would that politicians were as successful as were three Rogers High softball players.

Last weekend, in the culmination of careers that began with the Pirate varsity as freshmen, the trio of Traci Moore, Gena Greenside and Shannon Zahrowski helped Rogers to a second-pace state finish.

Except for Zahrowski’s sophomore year, which was short-circuited by a knee injury, they were in the lineup from the outset.

“They have been kind of the nucleus,” Coach Paul Cooley said of the three and Rogers’ success, which included four top-four Greater Spokane League finishes and two state tournament appearances.

“They are our captains, and those three had great careers.”

Included have been pitcher Moore’s four first- or second-team All-GSL selections. First baseman/ backup pitcher Greenside was named to three All-GSL teams, and Zahrowski made two straight firstteam appearances.

Cooley already knew their value when they entered high school and nodded affirmatively when asked if he knew they would start from the outset.

“I watch kids from the time they start playing as youth,” Cooley said.

That explains why the the trio had an impact for the Pirate team for four years. His statement may also explain why softball has been the flagship sport at Rogers.

None of the other girls sports at Rogers have been nearly as successful even though the three were part of them. They pulled no punches in saying why, explaining that Cooley has a way of making the players believe in themselves.

“The big problem is they can win, they can compete,” Cooley said of Rogers’ girls athletes. “Our program has been able to convince them of that.

“Plus, my good kids were softballselective young and got into the other sports later.”

It also helped, he admitted, to have a pitcher like Moore, who won 75 percent of the time, compiling a 66-22 career record, and who hit .346 this year from her leadoff position.

Nor did it hurt to have Zahrowski at short, also carrying a .346 average, who led the Pirates during regionals and state with eight base hits.

Greenside, the most talkative of the trio, was the team’s vocal leader and a .300 hitter.

“Shannon and Traci are much alike: quiet competitors,” said Cooley. “Gena’s level of intensity is different. She shows it.

“They can focus and concentrate as well as any I’ve seen.”

All three began playing softball as fourth-graders, running the gamut of summer age-group select fastpitch teams.

Zahrowski and Greenside were teammates from day one. Moore joined them four years later.

As the sport, particularly its pitching, became more sophisticated, Moore got in on the ground floor.

“I just liked it and tried it,” said the athlete, whose quiet demeanor belies a fierce competitiveness.

She didn’t think it would come to this, nor does she know why she’s so good. From the day she set foot on the mound at Rogers, she dominated.

“The catcher calls the pitches,” she said. “I just put my confidence in whatever she calls.”

Moore throws a fastball, change, drop and knuckleball.

“What makes her different is that her location is outstanding,” said Cooley, a former catcher who relays signals to catcher Angie Vulcano. “She’s able to put the ball where I ask her to.

“In addition, the big thing is she can change speeds.”

During state, Moore allowed four runs, winning 3-2, 2-1 and 1-0 games and losing 1-0 in the finals.

Zahrowski started at shortstop her freshman year but missed Rogers’ first state appearance.

She tore an ligament in her knee during basketball and sat out the softball season.

“I felt bad because I didn’t get to play,” she said. “I felt left out.”

This year’s first GSL regional championship and second-place state finish made up for it.

Greenside, who like Zahrowski will play basketball and softball at Community Colleges of Spokane, has always played first base.

“I was the big one, and they just stuck me there,” said Greenside.

She also served as Rogers’ backup pitcher, winning once this year with a 0.00 earned run average.

Greenside said making the softball team as a freshman didn’t surprise her.

“When we played select, we were up-level,” she said. “We all played basketball as freshmen, too, so we’d already gone through varsity.”

Surprised by their end-of-season regional and state success, all three admitted that in previous seasons they hadn’t approached the playoffs with the same level of zeal.

“I don’t think our heads were into it,” said Moore. “We were not ready to play.”

Added Greenside a day before state: “This year will be different.”

Atypical of many politicians, she made good on the promise.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos


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