SHINNSTON, W.Va. – If you’ve paid any attention to the North Central West Virginia high school softball scene, you’d know that Lincoln’s Delaney Haller strikes out just about everyone she faces in the batter’s box.
Most recently she led the Cougars to a double-header sweep over Liberty with 7 strikeouts in the first game and 13 K’s in the second.
Not to mention her 15 strikeout performance in the Cougar’s win over Lewis County last week.
Haller said she’s had a lot of time to practice her pitch, especially since her freshman softball season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It really just goes back to all of the work I put in during the offseason and seeing it pay off. I’ve worked a lot on each specific pitch a lot. So getting to throw those in the game and seeing what I can do with those pitches especially on different counts and just seeing what pitch works when and that kind of stuff,” Haller said.
And that off season training with her separate hitting and pitching coaches has definitely paid off so far and it’s helped lead the Cougs to an undefeated start. Haller said the off season training has translated directly to her success in the circle.
“I think being prepared and the off season. Especially since losing my season last year, I’ve had a lot of time to prepare and to refine everything and make sure everything is going well. With my pitching coach, I see him twice a week he’s out of Charleston, so I’ve had a lot of time to work with him and to make sure everything is right,” Haller said.
But it’s not just the pitching that Haller finds success in so far this season, it’s on the plate too.
“I actually widened my stance out a little bit. I work with my hitting coach in Buckhannon so we work all winter on that swing and it’s working out really well,” Haller said.
Since Haller didn’t get a freshman season to shake the high school softball nerves out, she said preparation was the key in getting a good start to her sophomore season.
“I’m definitely a lot better. My mental game for sure and of course I’ve refined everything over the off season. I changed my swing, I changed the way I throw in the circle. So it was a lot of fine tuning but it’s definitely worked out really well,” Haller said.
She uses the cancellation of last season as motivation for this season.
“It’s always in the back of my mind thinking I missed out on my Spring season last year and it’s always that little fuel that I need especially when I’m down in a count, I always think about that,” Haller said.
Haller and the Cougars look to keep their undefeated streak alive and she said her and her teammates have to stay positive.
“Just coming into every game knowing that we can do it and we’ve done it before will be a big thing for us and just keeping up the positive energy in the dugout. We have a great team chemistry so that helps us a lot too. In practice we always work hard and we’re always ready to go to practice,” Haller said.