Emily Pettigrew swings at the pitch fired in her direction and makes contact before bolting down the first-base line. West Alabama’s infielder hustles to make a play, scooping the ball up and rifling it to first base. Bu Pettigrew, her phenomenal speed on display, beats out the throw.
That moment on a sun-splashed Saturday paints a picture of how good the University of West Florida senior centerfielder is at getting on base. Pettigrew, a former standout at Navarre, has safely reached base almost 50 percent of the time this season and the Argonauts have thrived, winning 33 games.
“I really worked on my timing in the offseason,” Pettigrew said. “I also worked on my pitch selection. I just stay in my zone and get on base. That is my role on the team.”
No one plays her role better than Pettigrew, who has gotten base in 28 consecutive games en route to fashioning an on-base percentage (.460) that currently ranks as the eighth-best in a single season.
Her batting average is equally impressive. It stands at .397, the third-best average in a season. Oh, and by the way, Pettigrew owns an 11-game hitting streak.
Second-year head coach Melissa Paul can’t say enough about the impact Pettigrew has made on the team. One sentence seems to sum it up best.
“Emily has been clutch in the lead-off spot and is the catalyst for us,” Paul said.
No doubt about it.
With Pettigrew performing at a high level, the Argos(33-11) are on a roll, winning 12 consecutive games, a far cry from where they were a season ago when they won only 19 games and lost 30 . West Florida is third in the Gulf South Conference with a 19-8 record and is on track to secure a berth in the conference tournament.
“This year has been a lot of fun. We’ve played really well together and everything is falling into place,” Pettigrew said. “It feels good to win games, especially with it being my senior year.”
Read more in the April 14 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.