by John Unrein
The Grain Valley Eagles baseball team struggled to bring home runners against Lee’s Summit West starter Chase Taylor on May 10th. The seven hits mustered by the Eagles only produced a single run in the 7-1 loss. The first and sixth innings witnessed Grain Valley load the bases to no avail. The Eagles would go on to strand ten baserunners total. A tough outcome for an Eagles team that was interested in testing their mettle against a high school with one of the largest enrollments in Missouri.
A bright spot for Grain Valley both offensively and defensively during the contest was third baseman Nick Hooper. The junior was responsible for loading the bases during the bottom of the sixth inning with a line drive single. Equally as impressive was Hooper’s judgment on the cutoff throw he received from left fielder Cole Keller in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Hooper was positioned down the third base line and saw shortstop Parker Bosserman sprinting to third base. Hooper’s throw was on the mark and allowed the Eagles to get the final out of the inning on Bosserman’s tag of the runner trying to return to third base. The play drew applause from the stands and the Eagles dugout.
“I am glad to be back playing instead of sitting in my house for the last two weeks and waiting on Twitter to give me updates. We have been rolling recently with four straight wins prior to today,” Hooper said.
“Bosserman helped me out by being in the right place to receive the throw. That is stuff you must remember from the fundamentals you worked on at the start of the season. I saw Parker out of the corner of my eye and did not have a big window for the throw. Bosserman gave me a clean target.”
Hooper continued, “I saw a lot of fastballs today being at the bottom of the batting order. I was sitting fastball in my final at-bat and looking to adjust to anything else he threw. I got my hands around on the pitch and poked it into left field.”
Grain Valley moves to a 21-8 record and one step closer to the Class 5 District 7 baseball tournament taking place from May 17th to May 20th. An important item on the calendar for Grain Valley Eagles head baseball coach Brian Driskell who prefers to take things one day at a time.
“That was one of the best hitting teams we have faced this season. They (Lee’s Summit West) are also coached very well. The difference in today’s game was who got hits with runners in scoring position,” Driskell said.
“Hooper is a gamer and he showed it again today. We probably did not say ten words to each other throughout the course of the game. It is not needed due to how close he pays attention to what is happening on the field.”
Driskell finished, “I am excited about where we are headed and the opportunity that awaits us (next week). This team hates losing which is a great thing. Today’s loss will fuel us.”
Junior third baseman Nick Hooper awaits the pitch at the plate.
Photo credit: Valley News staff.
Senior starting pitcher Riley Bown strikes out seven in his outing against the Lee's Summit West Titans.
Photo credit: Valley News staff