Forbes Road catcher Hannah Purnell isn't what you would call flashy.

She boasts just one extra-base hit for the season and has 10 RBIs, but that doesn't mean she's not a big piece to the Cardinal puzzle. Batting fifth and catching an unexpected pitching staff, Purnell has been a model of consistency, and she showed it again last week.

In a 2-1 week for Forbes Road, Purnell combined to go 5-for-7, and was 2-for-2 in both the Cardinals wins over Southern Fulton, which gave Forbes its first winning season in program history. She is the Public Opinion Female Athlete of the Week.

"I've been with this team since I was the manager in eighth grade, and this was an amazing accomplishment," Purnell said. "I think we have a more cohesive team this year, and we know how to communicate with each other."

Purnell is having a monster season at the plate despite her lack of power, batting .526 with 30 hits in 57 at bats.

"She's been coming through with hits for us every game," Forbes Road coach Beth Bryant said. "She's batted fifth in the lineup pretty much all season, and she just gets it done."

Purnell said, "I think I've just been more disciplined, and I pay more attention to what's going on around me. I used to go more for power in my swings, but this year I've dialed it down and just tried to be a solid contact hitter."

Purnell has also been forced to adjust to the Cardinals' pitching staff. Haley Lashinsky was expected to pitch most of the games coming into the season, but she suffered an injury and Courtney Schoen and Tina Parsons have taken over the majority of the duties on the mound.

"I definitely wasn't expecting it coming in," Purnell said. "I was expecting to catch Haley most of the season, so it's been an adjustment learning the different styles of all the pitchers."

When Forbes Road plays on the road at Hyndman in the first round of the District 5 Class A playoffs on Wednesday, Purnell will be looked upon to keep that consistency going.

"I expect her to go 2-for-2 or 3-for-3," Bryant said with a laugh. "I expect her to keep playing the way she has all season, and I expect her to catch a good game no matter who is on the mound."

"We just need to go up there as a team and not think in the batter's box," Purnell said. "Hitting is tough to do, but you have to remember that it's not rocket science."

Purnell will attend Penn State in the fall and major in economics. She will not play softball.

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