Softball: Practice pays off for Delaware Hayes' Haley Osborne

STEPHEN BORGNA
sborgna@thisweeknews.com
Delaware Hayes graduate Haley Osborne was looking forward to her senior season leading the Pacers softball team before spring sports were canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Haley Osborne is constantly seeking to improve.

The 2020 Delaware Hayes graduate has consistently gotten better over the course of her softball career and plans to continue that trend when she plays for Mount St. Joseph, a Division III program in Cincinnati.

"Honestly, I practice almost every single day, especially when I was younger. For me, I have softball year-round," said Osborne, who has played for the Ohio Night-Mares during the summer and fall in addition to pitching for the Pacers for three seasons. "I do that all year and don't take any breaks."

As a sophomore, Osborne went 18-3 with a 1.94 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 115 1/3 innings in the circle and batted .397 as the Pacers finished 19-3 overall and 10-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to share the league title with Hilliard Bradley and reached a Division I district semifinal before losing to Mount Vernon 8-3.

As a junior, Osborne went 18-4 with a 3.10 ERA, one save and 153 strikeouts in 128 2/3 innings in the circle and hit .461 with 15 RBI and eight doubles in 76 at-bats to help Delaware finish 20-4 overall and 14-0 in the OCC-Cardinal and reach a district semifinal before losing to Grove City 6-3.

Her performances in 2019 featured a perfect game: a 10-0, six-inning win over Worthington Kilbourne in which she struck out 12 batters.

"Haley had a great impact on the team because she was in the circle," coach Mark Thomas said. "All eyes were on her, and if she was rolling, then we were rolling."

Osborne, who went 11-7 with a 2.77 ERA in 98 2/3 innings and batted .357 as a freshman in 2017 when the Pacers finished 14-8 overall and 7-5 in the OCC-Cardinal and reached a district semifinal, didn't have a senior season, as spring sports were canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"I've progressed throughout the years and I just wanted to be able to show that (my senior year)," she said. "But I'm just going to take whatever I can... and try to do what I would be doing this year at least (next year)."

Osborne, who throws a fastball, changeup, screwball, drop curve and riseball, wants to work on lowering her ERA and increasing her velocity. She said she currently averages 59 mph on her fastball but would like to consistently hit at least 64 mph.

"Haley progressed a lot over the years," Thomas said. "Coming in as a freshman, she struggled at the plate. But over the years, she and her dad worked very hard to get better, and she did. She also got a lot better in the circle by not trying to do everything herself and letting the (defense) behind her do all the work for her. As a person, you could really tell that she matured a lot as well. She did get frustrated early on in her career, but now, not so much.

"I really wish that she would have had the opportunity to pitch this past season. Because it definitely would have been her best one yet."

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve