Holli McGinnis relies on her defense.
Swindle's arsenal includes a fastball and curveball.
McGinnis' top pitch is her knuckleball.
Whatever the differences, the two have one key trait in common — winning.
Curry's pitching duo has led the Yellow Jackets to the State Softball Tournament for the first time in school history Curry faces Briarwood Christian at noon today in the Class 5A opener for both teams at Montgomery's Lagoon Park.
“They are a good combination,” Curry coach Annah Cagle said of her pitchers. “They bring different attributes to the table. They both have great off-speed pitches. Ashley works more on curve balls and rise balls. Holli is more of a go-to pitcher. She lets her defense do their job.”
Both pitchers baffled hitters in the North-Central Regional Tournament in Tuscaloosa last week. Swindle, a freshman, got the opening win over Moody and the regional-clinching victory over McAdory. McGinnis, a junior, picked up the victory over Pleasant Grove.
In 21 innings of work, the pitchers allowed one earned run as Curry outscored the competition 15-1.
The third part of the battery is freshman catcher Emily Aaron. She did her part in the McAdory game as well, throwing out base runners in both the fifth and sixth innings in key situations.
“Emily has a great arm. When her throw is on track, it beats people by two or three steps,” Cagle said. “She tells me where players are setting up on the plate. The way they are positioned. We talk a lot about what pitches to throw. For her to be so young, she's very mature.”
McGinnis and Swindle both arrived on the varsity team last year.
From day one, the pitches split time in the circle.
That's just fine with them.
“A lot of teams will have a pitcher who normally pitches all the time and they will have another pitcher who pitches against teams that aren't that good or when the other pitcher is struggling,” McGinnis said. “The thing with Ashley and me is that we rotate. We both pitch a lot. Ashlee throws harder and has more movement. She pitches for strikeouts. I pitch for ground balls. Our defense is incredible. It makes us look good.”
“I like having Holli there because if I don't get it done, I know she will come in and help me out,” Swindle said. “She will tell me when I need to work on something and I will tell her what she needs to work on. We are good together.”
Aaron was moved up to the varsity squad this year where she was able to reunite with Swindle. The two have played together since T-ball.
“I've been her catcher since the very first year we started playing. She's always been my pitcher and I've always been her catcher,” Aaron said. “We know each other so well. If I give her a signal and she doesn't like it, I can tell through the mask that she's shaking it off. She doesn't even have to tell me.
“It's completely different catching Ashlee and Holli. They are both really good in different ways. Holli’s game against Mortimer Jordan (in the area) really stood out. I think she gave up one hit. Ashlee is a consistent pitcher. She really doesn’t have many off games. It’s different, but they both do a good job.”
No. 7 Curry’s young battery will face a stacked field at Montgomery.
Top-ranked Scottsboro and No. 8 Faith Academy are on Curry’s side of the bracket.
No. 5 Hayden, which is 4-0 against the Yellow Jackets this season, and No. 3 Southside-Gadsden are on the opposite side of the bracket.
The field doesn’t worry Swindle.
“Getting to state is very exciting. I think we have a chance to win it,” Swindle said. “We are confident going down there. If we win that first game, we are going to keep it going.”
Curry looks to continue its already historic season.
The Yellow Jackets advanced to the regional tournament for the first time in school history.
After going 3-0 at the regional tournament in Tuscaloosa, Curry is looking to continue its run in Montgomery.
McGinnis said she has noticed a difference in the school and the community.
“Now that we've made it to state, we have people come up to us in the hallways and tell us congratulations and good luck,” McGinnis said. “It's a really good feeling. I went to the mall the other day and I had my Curry sweatshirt on. I had random people I didn't even know tell me congratulations for making it to state. They said they would be supporting us. I've never had that happen before.
“Now we just have to get down there and keep playing like we’ve been playing.”