It was certainly not the way Hayley Moon wanted to start her high school softball career.
Just before her freshman season was to begin last year, Moon received the news that she was being cut from the McGavock team. Disheartened and disappointed but not embittered, she didn’t let that deter her. She worked even harder over the summer to make herself better.
Now batting in the cleanup position in the lineup as a sophomore, Moon has become one of the Raiders offensive leaders. She led McGavock to a key 6-3 District 12-AAA victory Thursday over host Hunters Lane, going 2-for-3, knocking in two runs with a single and a double, scoring twice, and reaching base three times.
At midseason, Moon has become one of the Raider batting standouts and leads them in home runs with two. One of them came earlier this month in a win over Maplewood in a smash which went over two fences—a real Moon shot, if you will.
“I cut Hayley last year — shows you what a great coach I am,’’ said veteran McGavock coach Mike Dennis, laughing. “She’s become one of the top offensive players on our team. She’s made so much improvement in every area.’’
After the game, Moon recounted getting cut.
“After he cut me last year, I went into his office and I asked ‘why?’,’’ Moon said. “He told me I had to improve on my hitting and my defensive skills.
“I worked hard over the summer, especially on defense, and I was more determine than ever to make the team this year,’’ she added. “My strong point is hitting, and I worked harder on that area as well.’’
Asked why she liked softball so much, she said, “I got it from my mom (Meredith) who was very good player at Stratford.’’
Moon’s hitting backed up winning pitcher Keely Hunt who struck out eight, walked but one, with Stephanie Ward pitching the last inning. Kristy Charles scored twice, and right-fielder J.C. Cornwell made a nice, sliding catch off the bat of pitcher Patricia Manier to end the game.
Manier allowed seven hits and struck out four and at the plate, she had two hits and scored two runs. Ashley Tinch went 2-for-3 with two RBI and made a nice running catch in leftfield.
“This was good one to get, because they beat us 11-10 in 10 innings in our earlier game after we were four runs ahead in the sixth inning,’’ said Dennis, whose team took over first place in 12-AAA at 5-1 and 8-3 overall and saddled with a lot of rainouts.
Hunters Lane fell to 7-3 and 11-7 as the Warriors find themselves in a three-way fight for second place with Antioch, which beat them 5-1 Wednesday, and surprising Maplewood.
“We had some chances, but we just didn’t take advantage of them,’’ said Coach Chip Sullivan whose team lost to Maplewood recently for the first time in school history. “That game just showed us not only that Maplewood has a very improved team but if you don’t come ready to play, you can get beat.’’
McGavock takes on Cane Ridge Friday, while Hunters Lane visits Whites Creek Tuesday in their next games.
The district tournament opens on April 30, with four single-elimination games at home sites. The double-elimination format tournament again returns to Hunters Lane, with the four winners meeting each other Monday, May 4.