Grapevine softball phenom continues to work toward success

Posted Monday, Jun. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Nothing can be more of an unknown to a high school softball coach then the caliber of talent he has joining his ranks in a freshman class.

This year, Grapevine softball coach Steve Bottoms was more than pleasantly surprised in one of his first scrimmages before the season began.

“I didn’t know what to expect really, because I knew she could hit the ball pretty good in practice, but I didn’t know based on live pitching,” Bottoms said. “She hit a line drive up the middle and almost hit the pitcher.”

He was watching freshman Cynthia Haugh, who finished her first year of varsity ball with seven home runs, 47 RBIs and a .529 batting average.

The latter of the three stats had Bottoms almost at a loss for words.

“That’s the highest batting average I’ve had on the team since I started coaching, and that’s been 15 years,” he said.

However, it’s not the stat that gathered the most attention within the Grapevine softball program.

Haugh’s 47 RBIs shattered the school record, which previously stood at 35 in a season that saw around seven fewer games from the average season due to rainouts.

While she was glad to have achieved the accomplishment, much grander goals remain on her mind.

“I couldn’t believe it. I don’t remember what game it was, but it was great,” she said.

Haugh continues to work on her game throughout the offseason, playing for Team Mizuno Impulse 16U. The select team takes her to showcase tournaments across the country, including the Tulsa Elite Invitational last weekend.

Coming off a career year in just her first varsity season, Haugh’s drive to improve remains just as strong as ever. While playing through the summer, she said she constantly looks to take extra batting practice, soft-toss and participate in as many practices as possible to aid in her on-base percentage next season and, of course, drive in even more runs.

While it was easy for Haugh to recognize what areas of her game she needed to work on, it took Bottoms a little longer to sort through her very short list of weaknesses.

“She struck out five times,” he said. “I guess she could strike out four?”

Haugh also spent her freshman year learning a new position at third base. Bottoms quickly recognized her all-around softball savvy and felt he could find another viable option for her original position, first base. Her skill was needed in the hot corner.

“She’s our every day third baseman, and she had never played third base before and did a really good job there,” Bottoms said.

Haugh will have to prove again next year that she’s exactly what her coach saw this season –mature beyond her years – with Grapevine returning just three seniors for Haugh’s sophomore campaign.

The key to another year of success and hopefully moving beyond this year’s final mark of a playoff berth is putting in the kind of work that comes as a daily routine for the young pride of Grapevine.

“It’s going to be hard because we’re losing a lot of seniors, but we have good potential and I think if we work hard we can do better than we did last year,” Haugh said.

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