For four years, Ironwood center fielder Tori Pogue has been through it all.
During her freshman year, the team made it to the semifinals of the Class 5A Division II state tournament. The past two years, the team has had a 14-40 record, and there was a coaching change following her sophomore year.
Now, Ironwood (14-8) is back to prominence and a big reason is the speedy outfielder who catches almost everything.
“The best part about having Tori in center field is every single time a ball goes into right- or left-center gap, right before it drops Tori is there to catch it,” coach Erin White said. “It has been so important to the success that we have had.”
Pogue provides more than speed, though. She is the center fielder every coach dreams of with great instincts and leadership. She provides a beacon for all other teammates to turn to when the times get hard.
“Center field is the most vital, because they have to be the eyes, the ears and the mouth for every single batter that comes up,” White said. “Tori knows how to adjust the players, based off of what the batter can do. She is very verbal.”
Pogue competes in basketball and track, but her best sport is softball. She is second on the team in batting average, hitting .431, and is a threat on the base paths, leading the team with 19 stolen bases this season. No other player has more than six.
“(My speed) is always good to have,” Pogue said. “I’m knowledgeable out on the base paths, too.”
Her base running has been an invaluable threat. Her knowledge of the game is even more valuable. This has made the transition between coaches easier for the team and is one of the main reasons it is having success so quickly.
“I came in with very high expectations of our team, even though we had low talent level, and people could look to Tori to see that Tori does it without complaint,” White said. “All the things that maybe would have been something that the girls would have had a hard time adjusting to, Tori did it flawlessly.”
Pogue is one of only four seniors on a very young Ironwood team. The team is built for the future, but it is unlikely to forget all of what Pogue did to brighten up the down period.