There was not a lot of strategy involved when three-time NOW All-Suburban infielder Mallory Klotz decided to change her hitting style growing up.
"I stopped growing," said the diminutive Klotz, who switched from hitting the long ball to being a slap hitter. "I used to bat third or fourth, now I focus on making contact."
West coach Greg Klotz, who has coached his daughter over the years, talked about her hitting style.
"She's a natural lefty with speed and power," he said. "She understands her job is to get on base and that she does.
In 24 games this year, Mallory led the game off in the first inning, reaching base 19 times and was in scoring position 18 times. She scored 14 times in the first inning alone.
She reached base over 70 times this year (counting errors) and she doesn't hesitate to bunt or hit behind runners to move them over another base.
Mallory broke down her hitting strategy recently.
"I usually take a pitch and check the defense to see how they play me," she said. "I know when I can pull the ball, if they play in; I know when I can drag, bunt or soft rap. If I hit the ball on the ground, if they are slow to field grounder, I can get an infield hit. The defense's 'thinks' they know what I'm going to do."
The Vikings can count on Mallory putting the ball in play, as she fanned only once all season.
One time when she slapped the ball to the shortstop, she raced to first, was safe and kept on running when no one covered second. She is a definite threat on the bases.
"I read the pitches," Mallory said. I can see if they are slow or in the dirt. A lot depends on the catcher. I don't run on (Eisenhower's) Ali Nowak. Sometimes coach wants our second hitter (Hannah Buth) to move me to second, so I won't run."
When Mallory gets a hit, she will also use her speed to take an extra base.
"I like turning a single into a double," she said. "I'm always aware of where the ball is."
Being a shortstop, Mallory is also aware of what her speed does to the defense.
"Knowing there is a fast runner, fielders tend to rush their throws and that might turn into an error," she said.
At one point this season, Mallory reached base in 16 consecutive at bats.
"I wasn't aware of that until he (coach) to me," Mallory laughed. "Then it ended that game because I went 2-for-3. I don't like to know that stuff."
Like most competitors, Mallory has risen to the occasion in the big games.
Against Eisenhower in the first game she walked and worked her way around the bases to score the game winner. In the second game, down by two runs in the seventh, she drove a double off the center field wall with the infield up to tie the game and eventually scored the winning run.
Defensively, Mallory was rock solid, making only two errors in 81 chances and turning six double plays (1 unassisted).
"She had five when she went back on balls runners thought would drop or line drives where she doubled off runners at first, second or third base," coach Klotz said.
Mallory excelled against top competition, hitting .529 with a .636 on base percentage in six games against some of the top teams in the area.
"I like it so much more (playing against good teams)," she said. "You play to the level of your competition. The better team you play better against."
Mallory, a 3-year captain, and her teammates have had a record of 71-22, a .763 winning percentage, while earning two conference championships (first since 1986) and New Berlin West Softball's first Regional Championship, Sectional Championship and trip to the State Tournament in 2013.
She finished her career with 14 career and 10 single season records at New Berlin West.
"She has been everything a coach could ask for, in a player, teammate and role model to the younger players," coach Klotz said.
ON THE RECORD
Single Season Records
Batting Average .614 (2014), On-Base Percentage .710 (2014), Slugging Percentage .824 (2012), On-Base/Slug. 1.481 (2014), Plate Appearances 98 (2014), Total Hits 43 (2014), Runs Scored 40 (2014), Triples 3 (2012, 2013), Walks 24 (2012), Stolen Bases 33 (2012).
Batting Average .519, On-Base Percentage .625, Slugging Percentage .723, On-Base/Slug. 1.348, Games 93, Plate Appearances 357, Total Hits 135, Runs Scored 134, Doubles 20, Triples 9, Home runs 5, RBI 76, Walks 76, Stolen Bases 81.
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