Friday, May 10, 2013

Aguirre Battles Through Injury To Lead the Bisons

Gracey Aguirre is one of three Lipscomb Lady Bisons batting more than .300 this season. She has a career high in doubles and in home runs.

Friday afternoon with two outs in the top of the seventh she slammed a two-run home run that gave the Lady Bisons a 4-2 win over USC Upstate in the Atlantic Sun Championship at Draper Diamond on the Lipscomb campus.

On the surface it might look like her season has been one without a stumbling block. But that assumption would be wrong.

Twice this season Aguirre has been forced to come back from injuries. First, she was hit by a foul ball that went into the dugout in the first tournament of the season. That blow dislocated her right wrist.

“It was hit pretty hard,” Aguirre said.

While she was not able to play in games it did not keep her off of the field.

“I just kept doing one-armed exercises and workouts,” Aguirre said. “I kept mentally imagining things as if I was playing. All of that helped me a lot.”

Later on she missed a couple of games due to a problem with her right arm.

“Gracey has really been through a lot,” Lady Bisons coach Kristin Ryman said. “The thing I love about her is you wouldn’t know she is hurting. She has battled through so many injuries this year to get to this point and she is still producing in clutch situations.

“Watching her play you don’t necessarily see it. That is what I love about her. She is still trying to do everything she can to help us.”

For the past two seasons Aguirre, a Second Team All-Conference selection, has struck out the fewest times of any Lady Bisons player.

She hates strikeouts, but she doesn’t like walking either.

“Everyone hates striking out,” Aguirre said. “I just try to put the ball in play. I wasn’t selective enough early in the year, but I worked harder on it.”

“My coaches tell me I have good hands at the plate.  My hands meet the ball well.”

Ryman points out that one of the reasons Aguirre’s walks total is low is because of her selectiveness at the plate.

“She can hit so many pitches in and around the zone,” Ryman said. “Her eyes combined with her hands allow her to react instinctively and not to think too much in the box.”

As the Lady Bisons head into the championship game Saturday Ryman expects to count on Aguirre for even more at the plate. The Lady Bisons are 22-5 with Aguirre batting in the No. 4 spot.

“Right now, we need her in the middle part of the lineup,” Ryman said. “She has a great eye for the ball. She has one of the most pure and natural swings on our team.”

Her mental approach to the game has also been one of the reasons she has been such a force in the A-Sun Tournament this week.  She had two hits today and also has two home runs in the three tournament games.

“I have come out more focused,” Aguirre said. “I have been visualizing every at bat before the game. And before every at bat I visualize it again.

“It helps me being more confident going up there. I visualized the home run. I whispered the words, `we are going to win today’ before I went up to the plate.”

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