by John Unrein
Shortstop Parker Bosserman sprinted to his right deep in the hole before picking up the baseball with his glove hand. A smooth exchange would follow prior to the senior launching the ball across the diamond towards first base. Bosserman would trade force on his throw for accuracy in the hope first baseman Parker Stone would be able to pick the ball out of the dirt at first base. The calculated risk paid off for Bosserman as Stone plucked the baseball out of the dust to record the final out of the game for Grain Valley.
The final sequence in the bottom of the seventh inning put the icing on the cake for the Eagles. The defensive jewel mustered by Bosserman and the strong pitching of Riley Bown would propel the Eagles to a 3-2 victory over the Lee’s Summit Tigers on April 2nd. Making the victory that much sweeter was the double hitter sweep of a Suburban Conference opponent on the diamond by Grain Valley. A success that led to an abundance of postgame handshakes in the dugout and moves the Eagles to a 6-4 record on the young season.
Bown would relieve starter Cole Keller in the second inning and compile four and one-third scoreless innings for Grain Valley. Lee’s Summit would produce at least one baserunner each frame that Bown was on the mound. The senior pitcher would work around trouble each inning to defend the Eagles lead. Making the contribution more noteworthy was that Bown was called on to close out the game prior during the first matchup of the double hitter.
“When I go to the mound, it is to throw strikes and let my defense make plays behind me. That permits me to fill up the zone and avoid pressure getting to me,” Bown said.
“My fastball tends to get better as the game progresses. That was the case again today. Winning two games on a Friday puts a sunny outlook for the pace we are on headed into next week. This puts a good taste in your mouth.”
Bosserman has worked hard during the first ten games of the season to avoid being out in front while at the plate. A common misstep that hitters battle in keeping their weight balanced through their swing. The senior would adjust his approach to produce a base hit in the third inning and a no doubt home run that cleared the left field fence in the fifth inning. Bosserman exhibited strong hands and wrists to pull the ball as a right handed hitter on his homer that would deliver two runs batted in for the Eagles. The outcome would lead to the difference in victory for Grain Valley in a one run game.
“The home run in the fifth came on a 2-0 pitch. I was looking for an inside fastball and got one. I struggled to be on time today. I was determined to see that one in and I did,” Bosserman said.
“I got a good read off the bat with the sharp grounder in the seventh inning. Once I got to the ball, I put faith in (Parker) Stone that he would deliver because the throw was so hurried. It turned out great.”
Bosserman finished, “This is a new set. Hanging out with the guys has been fun since we graduated a good number of seniors last season. The new faces have been good to get to know.”
The Eagles have produced five runs per game on average so far this season. The team has been involved in four games that have been decided by a one run margin. Learning to be competitive in those circumstances toughens teams for pressure cooker situations that arrive as the campaign unfolds in late April and May. A fact not lost on Eagles head baseball coach Brian Driskell. A humble Driskell spoke to the determination his team displayed following back to back wins over the Tigers.
“This is a fun team be around. We talked after the previous game about our persistence, even when throwing strikes has fallen away for us. Bown finished out the first game and only threw twelve (pitches). I knew he was going to be the first guy I called upon in the second game if needed. Bown’s ability to get outs with runners on base was Houdini like. It speaks to how invaluable it is to throw strikes,” Driskell said.
“Parker (Bosserman) had a big hit for us today. He drew the praise of the opposition and their head coach. Bosserman’s play late in the game in getting rid of it quick was special, and man, Parker Stone who has been dealing with an injury, made a great pick at first and saved the game for us.”
Driskell continued, “When you have a three run lead, you are not always aware you will need every bit of that to come out on top. It is a massive advantage to have a leadoff hitter like Bosserman who can bunt for a base hit or put one over the left field fence.”
Grain Valley will face Oak Park, Staley, and William Chrisman the week of April 5th prior to competing in the Northland Baseball Tournament the week of April 12th.
From left to right: Seniors Riley Bown and Parker Bosserman.
Photo credit: Valley News staff
Eagles leadoff hitter Parker Bosserman makes contact with the ball at the plate.
Photo credit: Valley News staff