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Senior catcher Alex Henna showed off her strong arm on Monday, throwing out several runners in key situations during an 8-5 loss to Lincolnwood.
One of those throws squashed a rally from the Lady Lancers.
“She threw out at least two runners (today),” Buscher said. “On one, she blocked the pitch, picked it up and still threw her out.
“It could have been a nightmare, but we got out of it because of her great play.”
The Lady Vandals will be relying on strong play from Henna all season long, as she is one of just a handful of players on this year’s team with a wealth of varsity experience.
Henna attributes that experience to her ability to make the long throw from home plate to second base.
“It’s gotten a lot better over the years, so I’ve gotten more confident in doing it,” she said. “In warmups, I try to do about 20 throw-downs.”
Her experience as a catcher has also helped in one area of the game – pitching.
Last season, Megan Godoyo pitched the vast majority of Vandalia’s innings, but since she is out for the season with a knee injury, Henna has had to adjust to catching three pitchers that she hasn’t worked with a lot.
That hasn’t seemed to matter, however, as Henna said she is pleased with how her pitchers have thrown, saying they have been very good about throwing accurately.
About the only other thing Buscher could possibly wantfrom his senior leader is a breakout year on offense,
Last season, Henna struggled from the plate, but this season she has done well from the clean-up spot, hitting .250, with a double and two RBI, through three games.
She said she needs to have better focus when at bat and to build more confidence in practice to cut down on her nerves.
“She needs to be more aggressive at the plate,” Buscher said. “A lot of times she doesn’t pull the trigger, but when she does it, she’s relaxed and does fine.”
As a four-year player, Henna has also been put in a leadership role, and while she isn’t the most vocal person on the team, she definitely has developed some leadership skills over the years.
“I’ve had a lot of people ahead of me that have been good with that, and that’s where I’ve been getting it from,” she said. “I always looked up to (2011 graduate) Whitney Newsom. She was always calm and helped us through anything.”
Buscher also appreciates when Henna pipes up with suggestions.
“When she does say stuff, everybody listens,” Buscher said. “Everybody looks up to her.”
Henna does not plan to play collegiate softball when she attends St. Louis University to study nursing, but she did say that she may find her way on to an intramural team if she can.
That’s no surprise for someone who loves being on the field and has the talent to match.