One of the reasons Claire Bower loves to play softball is it provides a distraction from the pressures of life.
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic resulted in the loss of her senior season at Grandview Heights, making the time away from the field that much more difficult. The diversion definitely would have been welcome during the two months of Ohio’s stay-at-home order.
“I have always played softball and when I play, nothing else really matters,” said Bower, who played outfield and first base for the Bobcats. “I always have been excited about going to practice. Whether it’s practice, a game or even team bonding, it’s always fun.”
Last spring, Bower led Grandview in most offensive categories, including batting average (.435), runs (24), doubles (9), stolen bases (9), on-base percentage (.521) and slugging percentage (.613). She also was a pitcher, going 3-8 with a 4.85 ERA, 21 strikeouts and 22 walks in 60 2/3 innings.
“First of all, Claire is just a hard worker,” coach Tori Lynch said. “She was like that in middle school. She was pitching and working with her dad (Jerry Bower) all the time to get better. That caught my eye early on. It goes back to her dedication and what she does outside practice and scheduled training.
“She also has that innate competitiveness. That’s something that’s tough to teach. Certain people just have it.”
The Bobcats finished 5-19 last spring but expected to have a much better season this year behind an eight-player senior class.
“We were working hard and we were pretty organized in the offseason,” said Bower, who was first-team all-MSL-Ohio Division in 2019. “Like I have learned from (Lynch), the best thing is being positive and having a ‘we can do this attitude.’ An attitude like that will help you in school and life as well.”
It also helps her each time she steps into the batter’s box. Bower always goes to the plate with a plan.
“I think hitting is all about making good contact, hitting the middle of the ball and taking it to your power zone,” she said. “For me, that’s right-center field. I can take a low-and-outside pitch and hit it hard.”
Slumps happen to all hitters, but Bower said busting out of a drought is just a matter of repetition and sticking to the basics.
“In the rare occasion that I get into slumps, getting out of it can make things a little frustrating,” she said. “I just get back to the fundamentals of hitting. It’s like my dad says, ‘Grip it and rip it!’ When he’s in the stands, that’s what I try to do.”
Bower now is focusing on travel softball this summer with the Canal Crush as well as playing in college at Marietta. She will play in the outfield for both.
“We had our first (Crush) practice (May 26) at the Canal (Winchester) American Legion (Post 220),” said Bower, who wants to major in biology at Marietta. “I was a little rusty, but it was good to get back out there.”