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By Will Nations
PHEBA â€” Hebron Christian School softball coach Cass Tapley knows a thing or two about the commitment needed to become a competitive fast-pitch softball pitcher. His daughter Chloe Tapley was the queen of the pitching circle during her softball career for the Lady Eagles, striking out 1,507 batters.
Tapley in the past two seasons has had the tricky task of replacing such a dominant pitcher. For Tapley, there is not a lack of athletic talent at HCS, but a need for commitment inside the circle and the ability to get the ball across the plate.
â€śA good pitcher is somebody that wants to do it. They have to be willing to commit to it,â€ť Tapley said. â€śA softball pitcher is going to be as good as she wants to be. It simply comes down to commitment. Chloe used to pitch to me two times a week in the winter. It started when she was 9 years old.â€ť
Last season, Tapley began searching for the replacement. Starting with 10 players learning the basic mechanics, Tapley has found a core group that he is confident with inside the circle this season. Two sophomores, Brooke Griffin and Rebekah Falkner, are the backbone of the group. Another Lady Eagle getting in the circle is Madison Thompson, a freshman. Tapley said what has separated them from the rest is just a little extra raw potential.
Falkner, who also plays shortstop for the Lady Eagles, is still battling against the emotions of balls and strikes.
â€śI have learned pitching can be very discouraging, but you have to keep on trying,â€ť Falkner said. â€śCass has been there for us through the rough times. I know I just canâ€™t give up. It takes a lot of practice.â€ť
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