Malory Schattle is a true student of softball, the game she loves. Ask her about any game, any particular at-bat. Go ahead. She remembers.
Malory, do you remember May 10?
“Of course,” she said.
This was Game 2 in a best-of-three series against Bruceville-Eddy. Ashley Hoehn, BE’s ace hurler, struck out the side in the first inning.
“She got me on a rise-ball,” Schattle said. “So I analyzed the situation and knew she’d be coming back to me with that pitch when I faced her next. I just knew I needed to lay off that rise-ball. I did that, and everything worked out well.”
In Schattle’s next two at-bats, she had three RBI’s, including an off-the-wall double. Salado won 5-4 and advanced into the Elite Eight.
For the record, Schattle, just a sophomore batting in the No. 3 spot, didn’t strike out all that much in 2014.
In 151 plate appearances, Schattle had 75 hits, 23 walks, 10 home runs, 10 triples and 10 doubles. She only struck out 10 times. Her on-base percentage was .645, her batting average .591.
“Malory had a phenomenal season,” said Salado head coach Kory Craddick. “We relied on her a lot.”
For her fantastic season at the plate, Schattle is the Killeen Daily Herald All-Area Offensive Most Valuable Player honoree.
“I’m thrilled for Malory to receive this honor,” Craddick said. “She had so many clutch at-bats. She came through for us so many times.”
Craddick said he appreciates Schattle’s attention to detail.
“It’s so much fun to watch her hit,” Craddick said. “Malory learns something from every pitch — and I mean every single pitch. If you want to pitch her outside, she’ll gladly go to right or right-center. Inside? Fine. She’ll pull it to left or left-center. She doesn’t try to hit home runs. Her philosophy is if a home run comes, it comes.”
“It feels awesome to get this award,” Schattle said. “Especially because there are 11 schools involved. I’m shocked to get it. But it feels good to know that all my hard work has paid off.”
One can easily see that Schattle steps into the batter’s box with total confidence.
“I put a lot of time into hitting so that’s why I’m confident when I go to the plate,” she said.
“I know it’s important that I do something productive for the team when I’m up to bat. I never think about making an out; I only think of getting hits.
“I also know that I have strong teammates behind me.”
True enough. Schattle had plenty of strong hitters behind her in the Salado lineup this past season. But don’t tell that to Woodville High School.
In Game 2 of the regional semifinals at College Station, Schattle entered the batter’s box three times. And in each of those three at-bats, Woodville tossed four pitches to Schattle that were closer to the dugout than home plate.
“That was pretty incredible to watch,” Craddick said. “They gave Malory three straight base-on-balls in a huge playoff game. They didn’t want to take any chances at all with her.”
In Game 1 of that series, two nights before, Schattle had torched Woodville with a double, triple and three RBIs.
“I was fine with those intentional walks in the second game,” Schattle said.
“They helped my team. I was a little surprised they didn’t want to at least try and pitch to me on my first at-bat in Game 2 — just to see what I could do — but I’ll always gladly take the walk to help our team.”
As for the 2014 Lady Eagles season, Schattle said, “We overcame a lot of adversity. A lot of people told us we weren’t good enough to get too far. Well, it feels good to tell those people now, ‘You were wrong.’ ”
Contact Allan Mandell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7566 and read his column at KDHPressbox.com