Whatever it takes!
It was a shallow bloop hit over the second baseman’s head — one that most right fielders would just let drop in front of them.
But Metamora senior Morgan Obery is not like most right fielders.
As soon as the ball was hit, she charged in toward the infield and dove forward with her arms stretched as far as they could go.She just missed catching the ball by about an inch, but she kept it in front of her and fired a laser of a throw into shortstop Justine Phillips to hold the runner to a single.
“That’s how Morgan plays all the time,” Phillips said. “She gives everything she’s got. If there’s a ball within her reach, she will dive for it and do everything she can to catch it.”
Obery is not the biggest star of this team, which is 21-1 and ranked No. 5 in the state.
Other players (Phillips, Maddie Anglin, Paige Garber, Krista Polanin, and Molly Cull) have better offensive numbers. Starting pitcher Jodi Rebholz is 17-1 with a ton of strikeouts and a miniscule earned run average.
But Obery’s contributions cannot be overlooked, said Redbirds head coach Deric Linder.
“Morgan is one of our leaders. She has such a positive attitude, and she is a great example to our younger players,” he said. “She has a big voice, and a big mouth, in a good way. She brings a lot of enthusiasm to every game and practice, and I’m really glad to have her on our team.”
Obery was an infielder, but Linder asked her to move to the outfield last year. She also added the title of “backup catcher” to her job description.
“She has done anything we’ve asked her to do,” Linder said. “She became a very good outfielder, and, offensively she does a lot of good things. She is a great bunter and she runs the bases really well. She can hit, too. She’s had her share of big hits for us.”
Obery, a three-sport athlete who will play volleyball at Illinois Central College next year, said she welcomed the switch from the infield to the outfield.
“I learned that, if I want to play, then I have to be able to play different positions,” she said. “I just want to be out there playing. If coach needs me to catch, then I’ll do it.”
Obery said she and her teammates are focused on making a run to State this year. The Redbirds lost to Bloomington in the Sectional final last year, but this team is more experienced (six seniors), Obery said.
“We have all been playing together for so long, and now a lot of us are seniors, so we want to go out on top,” she said. “I think we have the kind of team that can make it to State.”