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All-Metro fall softball player of the year: Zumwalt West's Crenshaw hopes to leave things better than she finds them

All-Metro fall softball player of the year: Zumwalt West's Crenshaw hopes to leave things better than she finds them

From the 2020 All-Metro fall softball series
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Julia Crenshaw always has wanted to leave things better than she found them.

Crenshaw said that’s just a part of her nature and she hopes to keep doing that throughout her adult life as a part of her potential career path.

“I feel like being a firefighter would be really cool,” Crenshaw said. “It would be that or something in agriculture because my dad owns a farm. I am really excited by the idea of helping others, though. I’ve always been amazed by people who put their lives on the line for others. Saving people’s lives and having an impact in that way would be a special thing to do.”

Crenshaw definitely made things better for the Fort Zumwalt West softball team during a special season this fall. She is the Post-Dispatch All-Metro fall softball player of the year.

As Zumwalt West (18-5) made its way to the Class 5 state quarterfinals for the first time in program history, Crenshaw smashed the ball to the tune of a .619 batting average, 10 home runs — which tied for the area lead — 35 RBI, eight doubles, four triples and a 1.349 slugging percentage.

The shortstop also owned a .932 fielding percentage with 30 putouts and 39 assists.

Crenshaw lauded teammates like junior pitcher Lydia Feiste and senior catcher Kate Thurman for helping Zumwalt West’s history-making season.

“I think it starts with everyone else on the field,” Crenshaw said. “I can’t be successful without Lydia’s pitching, or without Kate behind the plate, or without the girls to my left and to my right. We all just held together the entire season and just made it work. It’s really cool to see and really cool to be a part of it.”

While the season ended for Crenshaw and the Jags in the Class 5 quarterfinals in a 3-2 loss to eventual undefeated champion Rock Bridge, she found comfort in giving the Bruins one of their toughest tests.

Crenshaw’s home run in the first inning even gave Zumwalt West a short-lived lead.

“Next year, I think they’ll carry the experience off that and they’ll be really good,” Crenshaw said. “The experience from that game, even though it was a loss, will really help them.”

Fort Zumwalt West vs. St. Dominic softball

Fort Zumwalt West's Julia Crenshaw celebrates after scoring a run during a Class 5 District 3 semifinal softball game against St. Dominic on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Mo. Paul Kopsky | STLhighschoolsports.com

Zumwalt West coach Ryan Oetting said Crenshaw’s performance had become something of an expectation.

In her four-year career, Crenshaw had 14 home runs and 97 RBI.

“Everything she did was pretty unbelievable,” Oetting said. “Her plate discipline and the ability to drive the softball were a unique combination. The thing to think about is that we played eight games less this year than we normally would have because we missed out on two tournaments. Just imagine what her numbers could have been this year alone had we played those.”

Crenshaw had a hit in all but one game this season and only struck out once.

Solving pitchers was just like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, she said.

“I think the deeper into the game I go, the easier it is to realize what the pitcher is throwing,” Crenshaw said. “I start to get a better hold on locations and what speeds and spins they have. I’d just put it all together and get some hits.”

Troy vs. Fort Zumwalt West

Fort Zumwalt West's Julia Crenshaw (28) looks to make the throw to first base during a softball game on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at Troy Buchanan High School in Troy, Mo. Paul Halfacre, STLhighschoolsports.com

Eric Gough, Zumwalt West’s baseball coach and Crenshaw’s AP statistics teacher, said the senior works hard to put things together and make the classroom a better place while putting her athletic prowess on full display.

“Julia is a very interactive student,” Gough said. “She consistently is asking questions that drive classroom discussions. I love having her in class because she is willing to speak up, make mistakes, and learn from them. She is a very smart kid and has a great work ethic in the classroom. Julia is fun because she can give and take a little grief from me, always with a smile.”

Among the light-hearted moments between the pair is the usual discussion about their respective sports.

Gough said Crenshaw’s grasp of her game would have made it easy to translate to his game.

“Julia has a high athletic IQ,” Gough said. “When we chat softball, she displays a deep understanding of the game and what it takes to be successful individually and as a team. She comes from an athletic family and gets the game. Had Julia grown up playing baseball instead of softball, I think she would have made for a good varsity baseball player.”

While Crenshaw’s next stop is already in pretty good hands under coach Larissa Anderson at Missouri, Crenshaw said she likes the challenge of staying close to home and helping lead the Tigers in the Southeastern Conference.

“It’s crazy to be able to represent the home state,” Crenshaw said. “When I signed, I had so many people thank me for staying home. It means a lot to be a part of keeping the home state talent home.”

ALL-METRO FALL SOFTBALL FIRST TEAM

ALL-METRO FALL SOFTBALL SECOND TEAM

ALL-METRO FALL SOFTBALL THIRD TEAM

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