Wagaman joins Nolehi pitching elite
Julie Wagaman - TIMES NEWS Softball Player of the Year
Northern Lehigh's girls softball program has been successful over the years because it always seems to have talented pitchers come up through the system.
The latest to fill the bill has been Julie Wagaman, who just finished her senior season and fourth as a member of the Lady Bulldogs varsity.
Brian Schell, who returned for his second stint as head coach of the team three years ago, loves it that he has more than one pitcher he can count on. He also loved having a pitcher like Wagaman as the ace of his staff.
And when she wasn't pitching, Schell made sure he had her in the lineup as his center fielder so the team wouldn't miss her bat. The end result was a 18-7 record.
Her success as a pitcher, hitter and fielder earned her 2010 TIMES NEWS Softball Player of the Year honors.
"Julie is the kind of player that every coach hopes for," said Schell. "Every coach wants a player who gives 110 percent and you rarely get it. Every single day, always giving your best and that's Julie.
"She took on every difficult game we had this season, without complaining and never once gave the other pitchers the implications that they were getting the easier games to pitch."
Wagaman waited her turn coming up through the Northern Lehigh pitching ranks. As a sophomore, Schell used Wagaman on the mound in a rotation with Christine Delong, The past two years, Wagaman was his go-to hurler, but with three other pitchers on the roster, he was able to rest her every now and then.
"With a rotation, I don't have to pitch all of the games, which is really nice so I can get some rest and be stronger for the next game I pitch," said Wagaman.
This year, Wagaman compiled an 11-5 record with a 1.38 ERA in 106 innings pitched. Of the wins, four were shutouts. She also had 94 strikeouts and 26 walks.
As a hitter, Julie had 26 hits in 77 at bats playing in 24 games with a .337 batting average. She scored 31 runs, had three doubles, a triple, two home runs, eight stolen bases and 20 RBI's.
When she was the center fielder, she went through the season with no errors.
Each year, Wagaman and her teammates got closer to the top and it all culminated with not just a Colonial League championship, but a trip to the District 11 Championship that ended with the team winning a silver medal.
Wagaman looked back at the first time the Bulldogs played Palisades on Colonial League Play Day at Patriot's Park as one of her better outings this season.
"We only played them once this year during the regular season and it was a big game and I really felt on that day," she said.
The Lady Bulldogs won 2-0 that day and then defeated the Pirates 3-1 to win the league championship.
"I also felt pretty good in the league semifinals against Southern Lehigh when we won 3-1," said Wagaman. "When I wasn't on, my defense was always there and I counted on them for everything.
"This team has played together for a long time, all the way back to recreational softball and we're all close friends. It was huge to win that league title together."
Wagaman doesn't necessarily have one pitch she counts on. She leaves that up to her catcher, Erika Bowman, who she trusts more than anything.
"One pitch actually sets up another," she said. "I couldn't be the pitcher I was without Erika. She reads my mind sometimes on the pitches I want to throw. The fastball is definitely the pitch I sat on most of the time. My knuckleball was pretty devastating when I got it to work. I just tried to use everything to try and keep the batters on their toes as much as possible."
As important as Julie was, she always knew that she needed the rest of her teammates around her.
That's why she was one of the team captains and also the TN Softball Player of the Year.