The way Owen J. Roberts coach Kevin Kirby sees it, Shannon Clemens and Sarah Dowd couldn't appear more different.

Dowd, an outfielder, is only 5-foot-3 and is an extremely aggressive batter. The 5-foot-10 Clemens, a pitcher, works the count.

Dowd, a four-year starter, and Clemens, a three-year starter, may have different styles at the plate, but the results are the same. The two seniors finished their softball careers as two of the best to ever play for the Wildcats (18-4).

"They aren't vocal leaders, but they lead by example," Kirby said. "The numbers speak for themselves."

And what numbers they are.

Dowd and Clemens have the two best career batting averages in the program's history. Dowd, a .439 career hitter and Clemens (.418) also rank in the Owen J. Roberts top 10 for hits, runs, stolen bases, and runs batted in.

Clemens set a new single-season record for RBIs, recording 32 this year and breaking a mark set in 2008. Dowd has the top two single-season batting averages, .564 and .563.

Dowd struck out just once all season.

"Sarah has worked so hard to get where she is, hours on her own and in the cage," Kirby said. "She's really aggressive."

"She generates an unbelievable amount of bat speed and hits the ball hard."

A swing-at-the-first-pitch kind of hitter, according to Kirby, Dowd will play Division I softball at Youngstown State next year.

Clemens approaches hitting differently, using her long arms to create extension while averaging almost five pitches an at-bat, a team best.

She also has played a variety of positions for the Wildcats, starting at shortstop as a sophomore, catcher as a junior, and filling the role of the squad's ace this season.

"Shannon is the most team-first kid I've ever coached," Kirby said. "She's all about the team."

Clemens tends to hit the ball to right-center, while many of Dowd's hits land in left.

But there is another similarity between the two.

At the beginning of the season, he asked his players to write down who they thought should be captains. Dowd and Clemens appeared on every ballot.

It was the first time that had happened in Kirby's 10 years as head coach.

The Inquirer TOP 10

SOFTBALL

Team Rec.

Last week's rankings in parentheses.

1. Neshaminy (1) 18-1

2. Pennsbury (2) 17-3

3. C.B. East (5) 15-4

4. North Penn (NR) 15-7

5. Nazareth Ac. (6) 16-2

6. Bon.-Prend. (NR) 16-5

7. H.-Horsham (3) 16-4

8. W.C. Hend. (NR) 19-2

9. Pennridge (8) 13-9

10. Con.-Egan (10) 14-7

Under consideration (listed alphabetically): St. Hubert (16-4), Upper Darby (16-3).

- Kate HarmanEndText