Anna Pritchett had become quite comfortable patrolling the outfield. A starter in center field since her freshman year at Greenwood, she has come up with more than her fair share of web gems over the years thanks to a combination of speed, strength and sheer fearlessness.
Woodmen coach Greg Norwood says that Pritchett “would run through a fence and get knocked out before she would let (the ball) hit the ground.”
Despite all of the defensive wizardry that Pritchett has performed out in that outfield grass, the senior has had to learn to broaden her horizons a bit this spring.
Greenwood has tried to make the most of its available talent in every situation, and doing so has meant putting Pritchett at shortstop most of the time. She still sees some time in her old spot, however; Norwood has been rotating as many as four players at a time situationally — meaning Pritchett will sometimes bounce back and forth between short and center on a batter-by-batter basis.
She’ll often have more playmaking opportunities at shortstop, but when the opponents’ biggest offensive threats come to the plate, Norwood will often move Pritchett to the outfield because her range and arm often allow her to turn would-be doubles and triples into singles.
“We try to adjust depending on who we have pitching, and what we’re trying to do,” Norwood said. “We try to adjust her for those locations, which is not easy to do. You move from center field to shortstop, and then all of a sudden you throw a ball over the backstop because it’s not what you were doing five seconds ago.”
Pritchett concedes that the throwing part of the equation can get tricky, though she’s grown more comfortable with each passing practice.
“It’s an adjustment,” she said, “but everyone’s been really great and gracious with mistakes and me just doing the best I can.”
Another adjustment for Pritchett has been trying to fine-tune her leadership skills. As one of the few veterans on the Greenwood roster last spring — when the cancellation of the 2020 season meant two classes’ worth of players were coming in with no high school experience — she found it hard at times to get her point across in the most effective way.
This year, Norwood says, she’s been a beacon for the Woodmen in every possible way.
“She’s able to articulate things in a much more positive way,” he said. “Her mindset and demeanor are hard to come by, and her work ethic is extremely difficult to come by in today’s world, so she sets a pretty good standard.”
Pritchett doesn’t just set the standard in the field. She’s also setting the tone offensively, posting a .375 on-base percentage out of the leadoff spot as Greenwood took a 3-1 record into Wednesday’s Mid-State Conference game against Martinsville.
Such production is old hat for Pritchett, though; she batted .443 with five triples and 19 stolen bases during her junior season and posted similar numbers last fall with her travel team, Indy Dreams Streeval.
“Even as a freshman,” Norwood said, “she was kind of a centerpiece.”
After this season, Pritchett will be taking her talents to Marian University; she signed her letter of intent with the Knights in December. But while she’s looking forward to playing at the next level, she’s nowhere near ready to put Greenwood in her rear-view mirror yet.
“Right now I’m really trying to soak in senior season; everyone’s like, ‘It goes by so fast,’ and I’m really just trying to play game to game, and make good connections with the girls and make it one to remember.”