With a 25-5 record, Durant enters Friday's Class 6A state semifinal against Palm Beach Gardens riding a 14-game win streak. For much of that success, the team can thank its "big three": pitcher Sara Demuth, shortstop Kelsey Horton and catcher Kristen Jones. Each is consistent, durable and quite talented.
Some players' value can't be measured with stats. That's not the case with Demuth. One look at her numbers (19-3, 0.34 ERA, .341 BA) and it's clear what the senior pitcher has meant to the Cougars.
"She's been strong all year," coach Matt Carter said.
Demuth, who will play at Augusta (Ga.) State next season, arguably has been the county's most valuable player this spring. On the mound, her reliable combination of fastballs and breaking pitches has resulted in 170 strikeouts. With the bat, Demuth's 31 hits have helped produce 32 RBIs.
Now consider this: Demuth has played with a sore back much of the season. Not that anyone could tell.
"You'd never know it," Carter said. "She takes pain really well. She's just really tough. And she's one of the calmest kids I've ever seen."
If there's something Horton can't do, Carter hasn't seen it. "She's just a great all-around player," he said.
He isn't exaggerating.
At Durant, Horton starts at shortstop, one of the most challenging and important positions on the field. At Florida, where Horton committed to last fall, the junior is projected to play catcher.
"She does whatever you ask," Carter said.
And usually does it well.
Horton, who also started for Durant's state runnerup volleyball team, leads the Cougars with a .431 batting average, is tied for first with five home runs and second in runs scored. Many of her hits have come at just the right time.
"She," Carter said, "is very clutch."
It's not every day that a catcher bats leadoff. Then again, Jones is no ordinary catcher.
The senior, who will join Demuth at Augusta State, possesses the kind of speed most who play her position don't have.
"She's pretty quick," Carter said.
And very dependable.
As the team's offensive table-setter, Jones is batting .419, has produced 29 RBIs and boasts a squad-best 10 doubles and 15 extra-base hits.
Behind the plate, Jones has been equally strong.
After all, a pitcher is only as good as her catcher. And Durant's staff has a combined 0.81 ERA.
"She's the one who puts up with the curves and high fastballs," Carter said.