by John Unrein
The Grain Valley Lady Eagles Softball team improved to 15-1 with their 8-0 victory over the visiting Fort Osage Indians on September 29th. Junior Avery Huffman went the distance for the Eagles on the mound racking up 14 strikeouts across seven shutout innings. The Eagles offense backed Huffman’s strong performance with nine hits, taking extra bases on passed balls, and exploding for four runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Huffman used her changeup when ahead in the count to help put away Fort Osage hitters. Huffman’s off speed offering dipped late in the zone as it crossed the plate and was hard to pick up for Indian hitters. Her efficiency in throwing strikes allowed her to work with good tempo on the mound and permitted the defense behind her to stay on their toes.
“I try to do my best each time I go out there. I have confidence in my defense behind me in their ability to make plays. That allows me to keep putting the ball over the plate,” Huffman said.
“My off speed pitch I have some days and others I don’t. It’s all by feel and today it was on. We are playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
The corners of the Eagles infield ignited their offense in the bottom of the first inning. Junior third baseman Brileigh Sims collected two RBI’s on her bases clearing double. She would be followed three batters later by sophomore first baseman Ella Clyman who’s RBI double extended Grain Valley’s lead.
“Avery (Huffman) is a great pitcher who holds the opposing team to low scores. We enjoy playing behind Avery and I am confident in our whole team,” Sims said.
“I was a little bit ahead on the ball today at the plate and that’s why I pulled a few. Trying to center it up in the zone was my approach. I think we are playing great and I hope this momentum helps us to win conference.”
Lady Eagles Head Softball Coach Garrett Ogle took advantage of the rainout on Monday before the game to take to the batting cages with his team and work on hitting. Ogle was equally pleased with what he saw at the plate by his team to go along Huffman’s excellent outing.
“Avery has been developing her changeup for a long time. As far as what count it was used in the game during a hitting sequence, that was all on our catcher Riley Downey. She calls the game for us and she did a great job today,” Olge said.
“The more significant speed drop-off in a softball changeup like Huffman has makes the timing for a hitter that much harder. A softball changeup can be twenty miles an hour less than a pitcher’s fastball.”
Ogle finished, “Our team had great at bats today collectively. Even if it wasn’t the result they wanted, we battled at the plate. This team likes to have fun, they know how to take care of business, and they like to be around one another. That makes them a joy to coach.”
The Eagles glut of games in their schedule at this point in the season will continue as they travel to play William Chrisman on October 1st. Grain Valley will then turn their attention to the Blue Springs Softball Tournament from October 2nd-3rd.
Above: Lauren Parker prepares to take a swing at bat.
Below: Avery Huffman warming up.
Photo credit: Valley News staff