by John Unrein
The Grain Valley Eagles Softball team fought hard to regain a lead prior to faltering against the visiting Park Hill South Panthers by a score of 9-7 on Monday, October 14th. The Panthers jumped out to an early lead scoring six runs during the first two innings due to timely hitting with runners in scoring position.
Grain Valley would counter by scoring three runs in the third inning and four runs in the fourth to storm back into the game and reclaim the lead. Park Hill South would rally late in putting up three more runs in the top of the sixth inning and claiming a late advantage they would not relinquish.
Eagles Head Coach Garrett Ogle reflected on what could’ve been with his team coming up just short.
“They were fortunate in hitting the softball in places we weren’t. They scored some runs on us early and took the lead. I was more impressed with the way we battled back to go ahead in the fourth inning. We fought and competed hard past that as well,” Ogle said.
Grain Valley Second Baseman Alexis Parra was the catalyst of her team’s offensive output in the bottom of the fourth inning. Parra came through with a hard-hit line drive down the right field line that scored both runners from second and third. The senior dug deep rounding the bases to end up with a triple prior to being driven in later in the inning by Sophomore Outfielder Mikayla Chairez.
“My approach at the plate was to make contact to keep the game going in helping us to build momentum. It felt good to be a part of our offense in helping us gain the lead at that point in the game,” Parra said.
“We have to continue to make contact with the softball and work hit by hit in continuing to be successful. We can’t rely on just on our defense.”
Sophomore Pitcher Avery Huffman also competed strongly for the Eagles in relief. Huffman would enter the game in the top of the fourth inning and strike out five batters.
She held the Panthers scoreless in three of the four innings she pitched in closing out the game. The only blemish being the three runs yielded to the Panthers in the top of the sixth inning.
“Avery’s appearance brought a change of pace for us. She actually started the game in the outfield. Huffman got hot quick, threw strikes, and pitched really for well us,” Ogle said.
The loss moves the Eagles record to 20-9 on the season. Ogle identified keys to success for his softball team as they approach the end of their regular season schedule.
“We as team need to play moving forward like we did today in the third and fourth innings,” Ogle said.