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May 09th, 2021

milly stolen basesMilly McClure kneels by second base in Hugoton Tuesday. It’s the base she stole for her 100th career stolen base, and by the end of the doubleheader, she had pushed that number to 103. L&T photo/Earl WattEARL WATT • Leader & Times

 

The girls in the Liberal dugout had seen it a hundred times before. Literally.

But when Milly McClure bolted from first to second in the first game of a double header with Hugoton Tuesday and was called safe, not only did the dugout burst out with cheers, but McClure gave a rare double fist pump on the stolen base, her 100th of her high school career.

The Lady Redskins dominated the double header, winning Game 1 10-0 and Game 2 18-1.

But the moment of the stolen base was the highlight. That, and a home run form Jenna Ormiston.

McClure has been aggressive on the bases since her freshman year, and it was almost a given that she was either going to steal second or be thrown out trying.

“My original goal was to beat the state record for stolen bases, but because of COVID, that didn’t happen,” Milly said. “So my goal was to get to 100 this year.”

When she is on base, the defense has to expect her to run, and that pressure leads to mistakes at times.

“I feel like that’s how I run and hit,” Milly said. “Being that aggressive messes with the pitcher, it messes with the catcher, it messes with the defense. If they’re thrown off, that gives us  a better chance at winning.”

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And she doesn’t hesitate. When the pitcher is in motion, Milly already knows what she is going to do.

“As soon as the pitcher releases the ball, that’s when I go,” she said. “It has to be very quick and fast.”

She also has her share of steals at third, and she is watching to see how attentive the defense is before she makes her move.

“I’m looking for the throw, the pitcher’s attitude, the catcher’s attitude, the third baseman’s attitude, all that plays into effect,” she said. “If they aren’t paying attention, I steal.”

Now that she has 103 bases under her belt, she has ratcheted her goal even higher.

“I want to get to 110, 115, maybe a 120,” Milly said. “We’ll see.”

Her coach and dad, has confidence in Milly’s ability.

“She has been working hard since she was little,” Tommy McClure said. “This is her type of game. To get it where she started, I am pretty sure the first one was on this field. Losing last season (to COVID), there are the what-ifs. But this is something to be proud of.”

But with Milly now pushing the goal to 120 stolen bases, can she make it?

“She can do it,” McClure said. “That’s her mind set. If she puts her mind to it, she will do it.”

But as a dad and a coach, McClure gets just as nervous when Milly takes off.

“Her style is aggressive,” McClure said. “As a coach, I get palpitations. But it affects the defense. They are always checking her, it gets balls for the next hitters. Sometimes it bites her, but you see what she has accomplished. She is fun to watch.”

Milly is also a catcher, and that gives her insight on baserunners, and how to throw them out.

“Being a catcher, she understand that side, what she can and can’t do,” McClure said. “She talks to me and says, ‘Dad, you should have went delay. She is a pretty decent catcher.’ It’s things like that she communicates with me and understands that part of the game.”

And she’s not bad behind the plate, either.

“She can also throw them out,” he said. “She has a lot of picks as catcher.”

Getting the wins in Hugoton were a relief for the Lady Redskins after a heartbreaking extra-inning loss in Hays and a loss in Garden City.

“The last few weeks we’ve been down,” McClure said. “We’ve played tough early, but we get bounced at the end. We needed a mental release. I told them we need to take one game at a time. We have a chance to do something we haven’t done in a long time. WAC has been crazy. Hays beat Garden. Everybody is beating everybody. We have to settle down and play a complete game.”

Liberal won Game 1 10-0, and Milly McClure not only stole her 100th base, she also had a pair of RBIs.

Jenna Ormiston pitched the win and also had three hits. Eyleen Vasquez and Ren Watt each had two hits.

In Game 2, the Lady Redskins ended the game early in the fourth inning with an 18-1 win.

Ormiston had one hit, but it was a home run that scored three runs.

Watt and Lizzy Cisneros each had three hits in the win. Vasquez had two hits.

Liberal will look for its first WAC win in several years when the Lady Redskins host hays Tuesday.

And Milly McClure will look to add to her record-setting stolen base count in the final five games of the regular season.

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