by Michael Smith
It was just last week when sophomore Sydnee Wagner returned to pitch for the Grain Valley softball team.
She made her return in a tournament game against Eureka in the Ozark’s Fall Festival. She tossed two innings and picked up the win in a 16-1 victory.
Wagner was limited to 40 pitches at that time because it was her first game back after recovering from a tear in the TFCC ligament in her pitching hand.
Coming into Tuesday’s Suburban White Conference matchup against Platte County, head coach Flip Courter limited his young hurler to 60 pitches.
She made the most of those throws as she fired five scoreless innings to help the Eagles come away with a 8-0 victory at home, which was the team’s 10th consecutive victory.
“She got through five innings on 60 pitches, which I was very excited about,” Courter said. “It really helped that she was able to go deep into the game and she scattered some hits.”
Wagner added two walks and struck out one in the victory. She is still not a full strength according to Courter, but she was effective enough to notch the Eagles sixth shutout win of the season.
Platte County had some traffic on the bases against Wagner. The Pirates has the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the second and runners at first and second with two outs in the third, but the Eagles hurler got out of each jam.
“I think it was good for my defense to have my back,” Wagner said. “I was really grateful for that.”
Sidney Hemme came in to toss the last two innings and dominated. She allowed just one hit and struck out five batters.
The Eagles were fueled offensively by junior Kierstin Parker, who drove in two runs on a triple that she smashed into the right-center field gap in the second. A throw from the Platte County infield on a relay throw got away from catcher Morgan Shields and allowed Parker to score in the error.
“I had been struggling before,” said Parker, who was 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs. Ever since the game against Republic, I have just been hot at the plate.
“One through nine, I think we are hitting pretty decent. The season is starting to roll for us.”
After the game, Courter awarded Parker the “Player of the Game” bat, a blue bat that he has the recipient sign at the end of a game.
“She’s scorching hot,” Courter said. “Even when she struck out, it led to good things happening. The catcher dropped the pitch to allow her reach base and after the throw from the catcher, one of our runners scored.
“Sometimes you are blessed like that. That’s the way things are going for her lately.”
Grain Valley (15-2) took a 3-0 lead into the fourth and senior Brynn Stufflebean added an insurance run when her sacrifice fly allowed Parker to score from third base to make it 4-0.
The Eagles put it away with a four-run fifth inning that was highlighted by an RBI double from Stufflebean that ricocheted off the glove of Platte County third baseman Bryli Siefert.
Salome’ Haley also had a big game for Grain Valley as she was 2-for-2 with three runs and a double.
Grain Valley sophomore Sydnee Wagner pitcher her second game since coming back from a worst injury and pitched five shut out innings to lead the Eagles to a 8-0 victory Tuesday at home. Photo credit: Michael Smith