COLUMBIA — Kelsey Harrington is superstitious.
Before each at bat, Harrington, a senior outfielder on the Rock Bridge softball team, stands patiently outside the batter’s box. As her third base coach gives her the sign, Harrington bends down while sprinkling dirt onto her bare hands. Once covered, she straightens back up, coolly wiping the dirt off on the front of her pants.
She does not know why she does this. She just knows it works.
"That's just something I started doing. I don't really know why I started doing that, but it's just one of those things I picked up this season," Harrington said. "I guess it’s weird."
Weird or not, the ritual has been garnering impressive results. Harrington had three hits and an RBI to lead the Bruins to a 10-0 win over Warsaw on Monday at Rock Bridge.
That production is nothing new.
In Rock Bridge's game against Hickman on Sept. 15, Harrington sent a home run over the left field wall. Against district rival Helias Catholic on last Monday, Harrington tacked on two more home runs. Then, on senior night last Tuesday, Harrington belted three more in a win over Lebanon.
While dirty hands might have something to do with her success, her coach thinks it has more to do with her work ethic.
"I think it's preparation, honestly. She's going out and hitting every weekend with her dad, and on top of it, she's hitting at practice," Rock Bridge coach Janel Twehous said. "She does that little extra."
That preparation has been accompanied by increased focus. Harrington is preparing to play her final games for the Bruins. While she stressed the desire to finish her high school career on a positive note, Harrington admitted that she hasn't yet come to terms that she’ll soon be moving on.
"It's unreal, you know what I mean? I've been here for four years. It's hard to think of college, and all that stuff," Harrington said. "It just hasn't hit me."
Harrington has certainly made the most of her senior season, and her performance Monday was no different. She did what she has done all season — hit the ball hard.
"She has been seeing the ball extremely well. Now, tonight she did not have any home runs, but she hit the absolute snot out of the ball," Twehous said. "She hit down … and hard."
As she grips her bat, batting gloves are noticeably missing from Harrington's hands. Unsurprisingly, the decision not to wear them comes down to another superstition.
"My gloves got all torn up during the summer, and I just never went and got new ones. But I've been doing really well without them … so I don't want to break that," Harrington said.
After all that preparation, Kelsey Harrington might not need those pesky superstitions. Then again, she sees no reason to risk it.