by John Unrein
The 7-0 score only tells part of the story. Yes, the Grain Valley Eagles Softball team did shutout the visiting Fort Osage Indians on Monday, September 9th. However, an even bigger part of the story was the good judgment on display throughout the game by Eagles players.
Freshman pitcher Hailey Hemme spread six hits, six strikeouts, and three walks across seven shutout innings. Just as impressive was her placement of the softball in the strike zone and the composure she displayed in the victory.
Hemme was successful at placing the softball on the outer half of the plate as well as the top and bottom of the strike zone. She was able to reach back and find a little more velocity when she had two strikes on a hitter and late in the game.
Hemme would collect herself and take a deep breath and slow down her pace during times in which her control would waiver.
Perhaps her best play of the game came in the bottom of the 4th inning. Hemme showed good judgment on a sharply hit ground ball back to her with a Fort Osage runner at third base. Hemme looked the runner back to third base, preventing the score, prior to throwing out the hitter at first.
The awareness and good judgment of the freshman kept the shutout intact and drew excitement from her teammates and the crowd.
Hemme was complimentary of her teammates in her post game comments despite pitching a gem of a game herself.
“Today was possible because of the hitting and fielding of my team. They deserve a ton of credit,” Hemme said.
Eagles Head Softball Coach Garrett Ogle was pleased to start the week off with a win. A week his team is set to play eight games in a tough stretch of their schedule. He was impressed with Hemme’s efforts.
“We got into some tough situations defensively and she was able to pitch out of those. It speaks to her composure that she was able to successfully pitch to girls who are three and four years older than her,” Ogle said.
Junior Third Baseman Malia Gutierrez also displayed good judgment with her efforts on the field. She was able to handle a scorched grounder at the hot corner in the bottom of the fifth. Her subsequent accurate throw home was able to get out the Fort Osage runner trying to advance from third and preserve the shutout.
Gutierrez would also go two for four on the day at the plate with a single and triple in her first two at bats. The upperclassman was excited about the win.
“It was amazing today. The team came out and played with a lot of energy. That’s part of my role is to bring energy on the field and at the plate,” Gutierrez said.
Ogle had high praise for the leadership exhibited by Gutierrez.
“She’s an outstanding player and person. Malia’s great to have on the field because she knows what she’s doing. She’s definitely a future coach. Her ability to know where the next play is going to be before it happens is special,” Ogle said.
The varsity softball team will be participating in the Springfield tournament the weekend of Friday, September 13th and Saturday, September 14th.
Freshman Hailey Hemme delivers a pitch to home plate.
Photo credit: Valley News staff
Senior Keely Hill connects with the ball for a base hit.
Photo credit: Valley News staff