Good defense is much appreciated.
In my feature story on Metamora senior second baseman Kasey Kanaga (April 11 edition of the Woodford Times), Metamora assistant coach Tara Ballard mentioned that fans might take Kanaga’s fielding for granted, since she seems to make all the plays.
She’s right. We probably take it for granted that Kanaga and shortstop Maddie Anglin make most of the plays.
Go watch other softball teams play, though, and you will gain a greater appreciation for Kanaga and Anglin’s fielding up the middle. The plays they make on ground balls to their left or right are plays that not many other second basemen or shortstops will make. Anglin’s ability to field a ball to her right and make a strong throw from the shortstop/third base hole is unmatched. Sophomore third baseman Abby Barrow and junior first baseman Kyler Samp are also very good defensive players.
East Peoria also has a solid infield, especially at second base (Savanna Tapper).
That’s one of the reasons why last week’s game between Metamora and East Peoria was fun to watch. Both teams displayed solid defense. Nothing is more frustrating than watching a softball game in which the infielders routinely misplay ground balls or make poor throws to first base.
East Peoria and Metamora are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the state. I can’t wait for the next meeting between these two teams (May 1 at Metamora).
Looks like Peoria Journal Star softball writer Adam Duvall will have a difficult Player of the Year vote to make at the end of the season. Morton’s Katie Tobias is having a monster season. East Peoria and Metamora each have a handful of players worthy of the award. Anglin the preseason favorite, will get competition from teammates Kanaga and pitcher Erica Phillips. Last year’s winner Sarah Fink of East Peoria will have to contend with a handful of Raiders who are off to great starts.