A bond between a pitcher and catcher is key in any team's success.
Cannon pitcher Mackenzie Moyer and catcher Julie Harriss didn't have to work to build a connection on the field. They've been good friends for years, which has helped the Cougars to a strong start.
After an accident on Lake Norman in June 2006, in which Mackenzie broke her femur after the personal watercraft the two were riding turned on its side, the duo has been nearly inseparable.
"We were friends before, but it made us tighter," Julie said.
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Julie, now a senior, stayed by Mackenzie as first responders awaited nearly an hour for the right boat to take the then-12-year-old out of the water. The two also spent countless hours together that summer as Mackenzie recuperated.
Cannon softball coach Pat Moyer, Mackenzie's father, said he's proud of how the girls turned the accident into something positive.
"They're almost like sisters because they went through that," he said. "It's amazing and powerful that you can go through something like that and come out stronger if you have the right attitude."
The trust Mackenzie and Julie have developed on each other has also paid off in the softball diamond, where they've grown into all-state players.
"I can tell Mackenzie anything, and she listens and she can tell me anything and I'll listen," said Julie. "We would never do anything to hurt each other."
Julie is one of the top offensive players on the team, having 17 RBIs and hitting .432 on the season.
Moyer credits her success on her aggressiveness and strong will to win.
"Julie's all out," he said. "We could be winning by 10 runs and she's going in head-first for a slide."
Mackenzie is having a standout year from the mound, recording a 1.75 ERA and 80 strike outs in her first 60 innings of work..
"She's very calm; she's even-keeled," said her father. "You know what you're getting every day in practice and in games. She's going to come and give you 100 percent."
That has also translated to her offensive game, as Mackenzie is leading the team with her .575 batting average and 25 RBIs.
Cannon's goal was to outperform last year's 10-9 team that reached the second round of the NCISAA 3A playoffs.
But they knew it'd be a tough road, having a young and inexperienced group with many of the girls are playing softball for the first time this year.
Moyer said that's where Mackenzie and Julie's leadership and experience has come up big.
"They want to make the girls better," he said. "The game is important to them, but equally important is to make sure their teammates are having fun and have success to help the team."
The Cougars have had a good season, winning 11 of its first 13 games on their way to a No. 1 rank among 3A private schools, who Cannon's undefeated against.
As the team readies for its second go-around in the CISAA, they hope to finish strong to claim a No. 1 seed in the NCISAA 3A playoffs.
"We can't be satisfied with where we are," Mackenzie said. "I think everybody on this team knows it's going to take a lot of work."