The Maryland high school player profiles series is presented by the U.S. Army.
Zoe Baumgartner, a rising senior softball player at Friends School, was nominated for the Maryland high school player profiles series by Quakers varsity softball coach Ken Zalis.
“[Zoe] is the hardest-working player on the team,” Zalis said. “She came up huge in the championship.”
Baumgartner, a corner outfielder, was an impact player on this season’s varsity squad, which put together an undefeated season this spring. It was capped off by a 12-4 win against Concordia Prep in the IAAM C Conference championship game.
She put the game away for Friends in the sixth inning, hitting an inside-the-park two-run home run.
Baumgartner took some time to answer a few questions about receiving this honor.
PressBox: What does it mean to you to have your coach recognize you for this?
Zoe Baumgartner: I was surprised. Getting this nomination really makes me feel like my hard work coming into this season paid off.
PB: What were expectations like leading up to the start of this season?
ZB: We were supposed to be good last season and we had several seniors that played a big part on our team. With the season canceled and those seniors graduating, we were unsure of what was going to happen coming into this season. I talked with our coach and he said he thought the team had a lot of potential and could make a run at the championship.
PB: When did things really start to click for this team? What do you think was the key to the team’s success on the field?
ZB: I think after that first conference victory, it gave our team hope. We were nervous going in, but each win helped boost our confidence more and more. We were a family this season. We all meshed so well through our first few practices and that was definitely a big reason for our success this season.
PB: How did you first get into playing softball? What made you fall in love with the sport?
ZB: I started halfway through the season my freshman year in high school. My friend, who played on the team, came up to me, saying they needed more players on the team. At first, I completely shut her down, but as she kept asking me, I caved in, and that season, I had a lot of fun playing, I stuck with it, and my love for the game grew from there.
PB: What’s been your favorite moment in your softball career so far?
ZB: Definitely the championship game in May. That solidified the amazing season that we had. We worked really hard and improved a lot.
PB: How did you step into a bigger role as a team leader this season?
ZB: As I became more confident in my skills as a softball player, I definitely stepped up my role on the team. With so many new players this season, whether it was helping them learn the roles or helping instill confidence in the team, my impact grew as a leader.
PB: What are your plans for the rest of high school? Have you started thinking about post-graduation plans?
ZB: I plan on playing soccer, basketball and softball next year with softball being my primary sport, and once I finish up my high school career at Friends, I plan on going to a four-year college to study athletic training and physical therapy.
To nominate an athlete or team for a future U.S. Army Player/Team Profile, visit PressBoxOnline.com/Impact.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Friends School