Henderson thriving in pitcher’s circle

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Purdy’s Hallie Henderson is off to a 6-1 start in her first year as the full-time starter for the Lady Eagles softball team. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

Lady Eagles softball off to a 9-1 start

For two years, Purdy junior Hallie Henderson did her part.

As a freshman, she was a spot starter as pitcher for the Lady Eagles softball team, which relied on Brianna Keeler to be the workhorse.

As a sophomore, Henderson split the starts with Keeler and went 11-2 with a 1.28 ERA. This year, with Keeler gone to graduation, the pitcher’s circle is the junior hurler’s to command.

“I knew that we lost a lot of seniors last year,” Henderson said. “But, we didn’t lose the core of the team. I knew that it was my year to pitch. I just try to focus on making the next pitch and not let pressure get to me.”

To those who have watched the Lady Eagles program on a daily basis the last few years, Henderson’s growth and the team’s success is not that surprising.

Last Tuesday, Henderson scattered two hits in five innings while striking out 12 in an 11-0 win over Southwest.

“Hallie has grown up throwing in that circle,” said Lori Videmschek, Purdy coach. “In our lone loss, Strafford hit her a little bit. We called timeout and instead of caving, she started hitting her spots. That’s the key with her. Hallie is going to spin the ball, change speeds. If you’re not ready for that, it is going to be a long day for your team.”

Purdy is off to a 9-1 start this season and has outscored opposing teams by a 106-11 margin.

“Through seven games, we’ve done some things well,” Videmschek said. “We’ve hit the ball better than I expected. We’ve pitched well and run the bases well.

“Defensively, we had on hiccup against Southwest, but the first time we got them in a rundown, we got the out. Overall, I’m please with where we are at.”

Videmschek said the team still has room to improve in all phases, but one area needs some attention more than the rest.

“We need to be better when we have runners in scoring position,” she said. “That means when we have a runner at second, bearing down and getting a pitch that we can drive. Bunting the ball as well. Normally, we have been strong at that, but we have struggled with bunting this season.”

For Henderson, the goal for the team is just to keep getting better.

“We have to believe in each other,” Henderson said. “We all have our jobs and we just need to focus on getting better at them each time we play.”

The Lady Eagles host Sarcoxie on Thursday. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.

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