Softball pitcher Dallas King is only a sophomore, but you'd never know it by her leadership abilities on the mound for Jay M. Robinson High School.
After 11 games this season, King and the Lady Bulldogs are 10-2 overall. . Instead of relying on a rotation of pitchers, Robinson coach Jim Allen gives the ball to King for each game.
Allen, in his first year at the helm of the team, believes King's ability to keep her composure during stressful game situations has been the key to the team's early success.
"Pitching wise, Dallas keeps her composure wonderfully," said Allen about his 16-year-old right-hander. "If she's gotten herself in a jam, she has the same look on her face as if she just struck out the side. That's what you want out of your pitcher. You don't want someone who gets all strung out and throws her arms up in the air if she didn't get the call or barking back at the catcher. You want a girl who is even keel, so the rest of the team is that way."
Keeping her emotions in check out on the mound is something King says come naturally for her.
"I just don't let things get to me," said King, who would like to play collegiate softball at either Winthrop or College of Charleston. "I know we're going to be better this year then last year."
One of Robinson's losses this season was a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat to the hands of softball powerhouse Ardrey Kell. King kept Ardrey Kell scoreless until the seventh and final inning.
Of the four pitches that Allen says his ace has in her arsenal, King believes her best pitch is her screwball.
"That's the best pitch I've got and the one I think I can use the most to get batters out," said King.
King also gives plenty of credit to Robinson catcher Haley Lewis.
Although Allen calls the pitches, Lewis is the one that helps King and the rest of the team stay focused out on the field.
"Haley is a story of her own," Allen said. "She doesn't catch, she's doing it for the softball team. She's a very good athlete and she's worked hard all winter to become our catcher. She's very quiet like Dallas is but the two of them work very well together."
King, who stands 5-foot-7, also does well at the plate and is a member of team's 400 club, which is for players with an above .400 batting average.
"Dallas gets her hits, and she bats fifth for us," Allen said, who started coach King in rec softball when she was 8. "I'm real happy with her. She's come onto this varsity team and has really been the spark we've needed. If we had another starting pitcher, Dallas could play outfield or first base without us missing a beat, she's that versatile. She enjoys pitching and loves pitching."