Cuthbertson catcher Kara Salvo isn’t simply being modest when she refuses to take credit for the Cavs’ success this season. And, for the most part, she’s correct: One player alone simply can’t be responsible for a team-wide .470 batting average, or its 20-5 record, Rocky River 1A/2A conference crown and trip to the fourth round of the Class 2A playoffs.
“It was a really good year for our whole team,” said Salvo, who earned an N.C. Softball Coaches Association All-State nod at catcher, where she called all of the team’s pitches.
But, in all fairness to Salvo’s team-first reluctance to accept too much responsibility for the Cavs’ success, the only way base hits translate to wins is if they produce runs, and no player capitalized on her opportunities this season quite like Salvo.
While the Cavs as a whole may have had a storybook season, Salvo regularly provided the necessary punctuation on the team’s successful sentences. Salvo led Union County with 45 RBIs this season while batting .461. She also scored 29 times and emerged as the Cavs’ premier power threat in leading the team with nine home runs and five triples. All told, it was a season worthy of being named Union County Weekly’s 2013 Softball Player of the Year.
Such lofty numbers, especially her RBI total, pointed to Salvo relishing the big moments in the Cavs’ games, the moments that hinged on her ability to produce when her team needed her most.
“I’ve always loved being in that situation where it’s bottom of the seventh (inning) and you need the winning run,” said Salvo, who will join the Western Carolina University program in the fall. “I always want the bat in my hand (in those situations) and I always have.”
So, maybe Salvo’s production this year isn’t all that surprising given her willingness to thrive when the game’s outcome hung in the balance. But even she was surprised at her power surge this year, when she led the county in home runs.
“I’ve never thought of myself as being a power hitter; my goal was just to hit the ball solidly,” Salvo said. “I’ve been working on that for four years and I just, I guess, developed myself into being a power hitter. Especially being 5-foot-2, I never expected that.”
But her RBI total – that’s a different matter, she said. And, true to form, Salvo said the credit goes to her teammates, especially the pair that hit ahead of her in the Cavs’ lineup: lead-off hitter Mattie Nuccio and two-hole hitter Jessica Weber, each of whom joined her on the NCSCA All-State team.
“They were (responsible) for probably more than half of my RBIs,” said Salvo. “I really couldn’t have done it without them.