TENNERTON – Julie Tenney has struck out three times the past three seasons and her Buckhannon-Upshur teammates hope she can keep the hits coming Thursday at Musselman in the Class AAA, Region II championship game.

“She’s amazing,” Bucs coach Levi Bender said. “As a leadoff hitter, she does it better than anyone I’ve ever coached or played with, it’s incredible.”

Through 29 games, Tenney, who also excels with her defense at first base, is batting .619 with 52 hits, 40 runs, five doubles, eight triples, 16 steals and 10 RBIs. Along with the phenomenal statistics, she has zero strikeouts this season.

“When your leadoff hitter gets on base as much as she does, it gives everyone else the opportunity to do their job – especially she doesn’t strike out,” Bender said. “She works the pitcher. It lets everyone see what pitches the pitcher has. It’s really helpful.

“She’s not afraid to go deep into the count. She doesn’t mind getting two strikes. She’s confident that she’s in control. She knows how to make the defense work to get her out,” Bender said.”

Tenney earned first-team all-state accolades last season and Bender expects her to be named to the team again. She’s also a Big 10 Conference first-team selection.

“She’s a major asset to the team,” Bender said. “She works everyday to get better in every aspect. During the offseason, she worked on her speed. Now, she’s turning singles into doubles. She constantly gets into scoring position and gives the offense a chance to knock her in.”

According to Bender, Tenney is an exceptional team leader. He says she leads by example because her work ethic is “top notch.”

“The girls all look up to her,” Bender said. “She’s one of the friendlist person you will ever meet. She is always up beat and always laughing. She never gets down. She’s always pushing herself to be better. She’s really a testament that how hard work pays off. She’s definitely a role model to the other players.”

Tenney is the daughter of J.P. and Kristie Tenney. She recently signed a letter of intent to continue her softball career at West Liberty University next season.