Clements does it all for Casey's softball team

May 17, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

No matter where Andy Stephens puts Tori Clements, she makes plays to help the Casey County softball team.

“Last season we used her in right field, left field, second base, third base and even caught her some,” said Stephens, the Casey coach. “She was the All-Area utility player as a freshman, and I think that says something about her ability and work ethic.”

Stephens moved Clements around so much last year that he apparently forgot she also played some at shortstop, too.

“This year I’m primarily just a middle infielder, but last year coach Stephens had me somewhere different almost every game. I don’t know exactly how he decided where to play me,” Clements said. “I like it a lot better this year because it is easier knowing you are just playing one or two positions.

“You have to know so much when you are playing all those different positions. When you can just concentrate on one or two spots, it’s easier.”


Going into this weekend's Boyle County Invitational, Clements was hitting .338. However, her on-base percentage was .558. She also had 12 stolen bases and six doubles.

"Tori is a great worker and always shows up to play her very best," Stephens said. "She bats in the No. 2 spot and is difficult to get out.

"She means a great deal to our team. She's just a wonderful young lady with a lot of grit and desire to win."

Her family has ties to Casey athletics

That determination can probably be at least partially attributed to her family's ties to Casey athletics.

Her father has driven the bus for the Casey baseball team the last two years. Her sister, Amanda, a 1999 Casey graduate, played softball. Her oldest brother, Donald, played baseball. So does another brother, Andrew, who is a senior this year.

Her older siblings always were taking her with them to a game or encouraging her to play sports.

"I usually went willingly because I always wanted to play," Clements said. "They all had a role in helping me learn to play sports. Probably my father and sister helped me the most, but my brothers tried, too, even though they usually helped each other more than they did me.

"My father cheered me on more than anyone. If I make a mistake, he'll fuss at me and correct me. But he also encourages me. He used to be at all my games before he started driving the baseball bus. I still talk to him about all our games, and I'm sure he'll probably be back watching me next year after my brother graduates."

Clements' long-term goal is to earn a college softball scholarship.

"I don't think I'll get one for academics," said Clements, who gave up volleyball and basketball to concentrate on softball. "Softball could be my way to go to college."

At 5-2 and 115 pounds, she's not overpowering

She's not overpowering at 5-2 and 115 pounds. She lifts weights not because she likes it, but because she knows she needs the strength. Still, Clements admits she sometimes gets "knocked around" by bigger opponents.

"My hitting has not been as good as I wanted this year," Clements said. "Softball is a big sport here in Casey County, and it has always been easy to find somebody to play with, but I could just always hit.

"I like faster pitchers because if you make contact, the ball will really go. Against a slower pitcher, you have to be patient and wait long, and that's sometimes a problem for me. I like faster pitching because I am aggressive. I had to be that way to survive as the youngest child in a family like mine."

Playing for Stephens, who is also Casey's head football coach, has also taken some adjustments.

"It can be rough sometimes because he expects our best," Clements said. "It's hard to describe what playing for him is like. He's usually cheering and encouraging us. He can yell a lot, but it is only to make us better. Once you understand that, everything is fine."

Clements hoped this weekend's tournament would get Casey ready for the upcoming 45th District Tournament.

"I am pretty confident we can win the district if we just get our fundamentals a little better," Clements said. "We have a good team. We just can't beat ourselves."

When the season does end, Clements plans to stay busy playing softball.

"I have to work a lot harder and get a lot better if I want to get a scholarship," Clements said. "I'm even going to try and lift more weights to get stronger. I'm definitely going to play all I can because the more you play, the better you get."

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