Grain Valley High School softball coach Garrett Ogle taught his team a valuable lesson as they routed visiting Grandview 17-2 in a three-inning mercy rule victory Wednesday.
With just one out, and the bases loaded in the middle of a 15-run first inning, Ogle quietly had two of his base runners walk off the bag, resulting in the final two outs of the explosive inning.
“We wanted to get a win because it was a conference game and it counted like all our other games,” said Morgan Robinson, who walked, scored two runs and had a three-run triple in the opening frame, “but you never want to embarrass the girls on the team you’re playing.
“When we were on base, we were talking to them, encouraging them, and telling them things like ‘Nice play’ if they made a good play. We tried to keep it all positive.”
Eagles leadoff hitter Keely Hill reached on an error, walked, had an RBI single and scored three runs in the first inning.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been up to bat three times in one inning,” Hill said. “There have been games where I didn’t get up three times the whole game. We came out and played a good game, and did everything we could to make the girls on the Grandview team feel good about themselves.
“They don’t have the experience that a lot of the girls they play have, and that showed tonight. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t working hard. They did some good things in the game and we made sure to tell them that and congratulate them.”
The Bulldogs actually took a short-lived 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a Faith Lee single and Jayden Moore home run.
“They led 2-0 in the first and we came up to bat and did real well,” said winning pitcher Avery Huffman, who allowed just those two base hits and had six strikeouts. “In a game like this, we can work on some things in a game situation, and that will really help us the rest of the season.”
The Eagles finished with 12 hits. Huffman and Robinson each tripled, Cameryn Bown had a double and single and Alexis Parra had two singles.
Ogle cleared the Eagles bench in the second inning and put his junior varsity team into the lineup.
“There is such a fine line between being competitive and embarrassing a team in a game like this, and that is a line you don’t want to cross,” Ogle said after his team improved to 11-5 overall and 3-1 in the Suburban Small Seven.
“I told the girls, if you hit a double, run to second,” Ogle added. “But we weren’t going to take an extra bases or steal any bases. You can’t ask a girl to go up to the plate to make an out, so we had our girls walk off the base to make the last two outs (with the bases loaded).
“And our junior varsity girls were excited to get some at bats in a varsity game. We will always respect our opponent, and I believe we were able to do that today.”