Lady Chant of the Month: Quolas a true triple threat

Whether it is her wicked drop ball, her prowess in the outfield or her skills at the plate, Kiana Quolas has been a true leader for the Coastal Carolina University softball team.

The Oxnard, CA, sophomore was chosen as the Hampton Inn & Suites Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Female Athlete of the Month for March from Coastal Carolina for her bat, glove and golden arm.

Just from watching her play, it’s obvious how much she enjoys the game of softball. When asked if she preferred making the perfect timely hit or pitching a shutout to give her team the victory, she proclaimed, “It’s a tie.”

“I love hitting – it is one of my favorite parts of the game,” said the daughter of Christian and Tina Quolas. “On the other hand, you get the win if you pitch. I love all aspects of the game, but those are my two favorites.”

Quolas has a pitching style very similar to that of former Atlanta Braves legend Greg Maddux, who was nicknamed “The Professor” because he studied the game and out-smarted opposing hitters. Her controlled movement on her pitches irritates, even baffles opponents, and her drop ball often leaves batters swinging in the sand.

“I am more of a movement pitcher,” said the right-hander. “My job is to get batters to chase the pitches and make the outs we need. I have always been known as the sneaky pitcher – the goofy girl on the pitcher’s mound – the pitcher that throws the ball that moves every which way.”

She has done just what the team has needed – got the needed outs for Coastal as in the month of March she had a near 40 inning scoreless streak. Quolas was quick to credit her defense and to also credit her catcher Morgan Noad, who is just a freshman.

“I have to give it to my infield and my outfield. They have been working really hard and making the plays behind me. Our freshman catcher Morgan has really stepped up, and she has done a good job of catching my drop ball and breaking ball. I have to give it up to her,” said Quolas.

While her pitches range between 56-60 mph, Quolas was excited to hit the 61-mph mark recently. However, according to Quolas, her change-up drops by more than 10 mph, ranging around 45 mph.

“(The speed of the pitches) really depends. I have so many movement pitches. I like to move the ball up and down,” Quolas added. “All of the pitches complement each other.”

Coastal Carolina has found the benefits from that timely pitching and that has led to a 23-14 overall record, and 10-3 in the Big South Conference in 2013. Not only did CCU finish as the BSC Champions in 2012, but they captured 44 wins with just 20 losses. They went 13-8 in conference play.

During that same time period, Quolas has gone 12-7 with 15 complete games and six shutouts on the mound, while batting .308 for the Lady Chanticleers. She has added 21 runs scored to go with 36 hits, eight doubles, seven home runs with 19 runs batted in for CCU.

The team is looking forward to a run at another BSC crown. Teaming up with CCU pitcher Ashley Bagwell, they have been a dynamic duo. Bagwell, who often starts the chants in the dugout, could be referred to as “Dr. Pepper” because she picks up the team and gets them going quite often. Morgan Mastriania makes up the third member of the CCU pitching staff.

“We have been working really hard since before the season started,” said Quolas. “We set goals and we want to get further in the regionals this year. We have pretty much the same players with a few exceptions from last year. Plus, we have to work harder because there is a target on our backs since we won the conference last year. We have to really step up to the challenge.”

Coastal Carolina has done all of the essential skills on the diamond this spring, whether it be clutch hitting, timely base-running, power (especially from the middle of the order), and they have not allowed many base runners to reach. Quolas said each player has an important role on the team and they know what to do.

“We all know our roles as starters, and those players not starting also have a job to do. They have to be focused and ready to come at any moment. I am really grateful for them. It is tough if you are not starting, but they could come through with a key hit or a pinch run,” added Quolas. “It really makes the team come together. It makes us all like one family competing for the same goal.”

Quolas, who is not only one of the top pitchers on the team and top batters, steps away from the mound when Bagwell or another CCU pitcher comes in to play left field. She feels the transition is not a difficult one.

“My dad always said they will find a spot for you on the field if you can hit the ball, so the transition has not been that much different,” said Quolas. “I have always considered myself a field player first. I think I am a good enough player to make the transition.”

She does have certain routines that remain familiar to her. When she pitches, she said that always takes a breath, and often when she throws the elusive drop ball, she will tell herself – “turn it over.” She always makes a circle before coming up to bat.

That is after the music ‘Dangerous’ by the Ying Yang Twins that is up-tempo and usually gets the crowd dancing or singing in the bleachers as an extra motivational tool. It’s a fitting song title for Coastal’s triple threat.

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