Avery Grimes and Kylee Foster aren’t about to spend the summer sitting on the laurels garnered in Timber Creek’s softball playoff season.
Grimes was named District 5-5A’s Offensive Most Valuable Player, while Foster was tabbed as the district’s Most Valuable Pitcher.
The two Timber Creek players are already hard at work to improve on their skills and help the Lady Falcons return to the playoffs after a disappointing first-round loss to Weatherford this year.
The players are focusing on different parts of their game as they head into the summer’s select league team play.
For Grimes, a shortstop, the emphasis is on improving her power at the plate and her offensive game, while Foster is about perfecting her pitches.
Now in her third year with the DFW Firecrackers, Grimes said summer leagues are not an area of burnout for her, noting she has been playing softball since the age of four.
“There’s no burnout,” Grimes said. “I love being able to represent Timber Creek and like it (varsity play) more than select. I like to play for something and represent something and not just be playing for yourself,” she said.
Outside of the summer leagues, Grimes continues to improve her power with a simple wall.
“I’m still trying to keep everything at a high level and work on the power at the plate,” she said. “I can do that with hitting tennis balls against the garage,” Grimes explained. “It helps me watch the ball all the way in and focus on it hitting the bat. If I can do that with a real ball, it will be for more power.”
Foster, though, said she rarely focuses on her hitting during the summer months.
She said she heads out to pitch at least three or four times a week, and at least a few of those workouts are performed with her pitching coach.
Playing for the Texas Fusion 18U for four years, Foster said in addition to improving her pitches, she has another area for focus.
“I want to improve at being a smarter softball player,” Foster said. “I think playing different teams and different batters helps so that you just aren’t pitching to weaker batters and taking them for granted,” she said.
“I don’t work on new pitches, but I try to perfect them as best as I can for the varsity season,” Foster added.
Grimes also said that the summer games help her know other pitchers from the area which she’ll be facing in the spring.
Learning those pitchers any better could have Grimes improving on her stats such as a .473 district hitting average and getting on base over half the time. “I’d like to get my average up to .500 and on-base percentage to .600,” she said.
“Coach (Laura) Moore has worked really hard with me during the season,” she said, crediting the Timber Creek head coach. “We’d stay late and hit in the cages and she supports me and believes in what I’m capable of.”
In addition to perfecting her pitches, Foster said the select tournaments are a great opportunity to be noticed by college coaches and scouts, even just heading into her junior year.
Travel to tournaments at locations such as Houston and College Station and states like Oklahoma, Illinois and Colorado are chances to play in front of those who may show an interest, Foster said.
The summer season also affords the two Lady Falcons a chance to play without the pressure to come away with a win. But the summer competition doesn’t dull the excitement to return to varsity play.
“I’m very excited to get back,” Foster said of the coming school year.
No doubt, the two juniors-to-be will be expected to again be leaders on a team which lost just one senior to graduation.
For the chance the two would face each other during the summer tournaments, Grimes wasn’t concerned about any pressures that would yield in facing Foster.
“I know she’ll just pitch me change-ups,” Grimes said.