by John Unrein
Ten is a good number for the Grain Valley Lady Eagles Softball team. On the same day the team pushed their record to 10-0, they won 10-0 against the visiting Raytown Blue Jays. The game on September 22nd was completed in six innings as the Lady Eagles met the ten run spread rule with the two they put across the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Hailey Hemme pitched a gem of a game for Grain Valley. Hemme’s shutout against Raytown was fueled by her 13 strikeouts on the mound. The sophomore hurler is demonstrating improved velocity and movement on her pitches to either side of the plate. This growth in Hemme’s repertoire allows her to keep hitters guessing with her ability to place the softball in all four quadrants of the strike zone.
Grain Valley backed Hemme with a strong team effort at the plate in producing ten runs. Sophomore Left Fielder Cameryn Bown fueled the Eagles offense by hitting for the cycle. The left handed leadoff hitter for the Eagles used a level swing and hustle on the base paths to power her successful game at the plate.
Bown stretched a double into a triple in the first inning, followed by a single she extended into a double in the second inning. The aggressiveness on the base paths continued for Bown with taking second base in the fourth inning on a passed ball after she landed on first base with a single. The home run to complete the cycle for Bown came fittingly enough with an inside the park home run during the sixth inning.
Grain Valley Lady Eagles Head Softball Coach Garrett Ogle spent a decent portion of the game whirling his right arm signaling Bown to keep going after she contacted the baseball at the plate. Ogle was pleased with his team’s effort as they approach the September Slam Tournament the weekend of September 25th-26th.
“There are always things to improve on, but right now we are starting to do a lot of things well as a team. This team is starting to mesh and embrace their individual roles. Offensively, we’ve been able to hit all season long. The key has been getting all nine in the lineup to do it in the same game. Pitching has been fun to watch so far this season with the arms we have in our program,” Ogle said.
“(Hailey) Hemme has improved her location and how fast she sends the ball to the plate. It’s fun to watch her compete. She was matched today by (Cameryn) Bown, who leads by example. Cameryn takes off to first as fast as she can anytime she hits the ball because she wants to peek at seeing if it’s possible to get an extra base. Her hustle is on point.”
Ogle concluded, “We are going to see a lot of good teams this weekend, and the competition will be tough. We look forward to seeing where we land.”
Hemme and Bown were showered with praise by their teammates during their postgame meeting. Both returned the favor in celebrating their win with their post-game comments.
“I thought I pitched well today, but I couldn’t have done it without my team behind me. Both their fielding and hitting allowed this win to be possible. I have been working on my spin pitches to either side of the plate,” Hemme said.
Hemme continued, “We respect each other and are kind. That makes this win that much more fun.”
Bown added, “My team’s enthusiasm pushes me to play hard. It also helps us at the plate. I tried to make contact with ball in the center of the plate today.”
Top: Eagles Third Baseman Brileigh Sims makes contact at the plate.
Below: Hailey Hemme warms up between innings.
Photo credit: Valley News staff