DARKE COUNTY – It didn’t take long for Darke County spring sports athletes to make their marks this season.
In the first week of the season, records already have been set and rare feats already have been accomplished. A couple of those standout performers are being recognized as this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Tri-Village baseball player Ryan Maples and Mississinawa Valley softball player Kylee Welch.
Maples had a great start to the season, throwing a no-hitter in Tri-Village’s first game of the year on Monday against National Trail. Maples struck out five batters and allowed one unearned run in the 11-1 run rule victory.
“Quite a good way for us to start,” Tri-Village coach Jim Maples said. “That can’t be anything but a confidence builder, that first game.”
Maples threw hard and had a lot of movement on his pitches, coach Maples said. He gave up six walks but didn’t let a ball out of the infield in the game, the coach said.
“He did what he needed to do to give us in the ballgame,” coach Maples said.
Maples, a four-year starter who also plays short stop, is a leader for the Patriots and produces offensively and defensively, coach Maples said. It’s not easy to be the coach’s son, coach Maples said, but Maples has proven he’s deserving of the playing time he’s earned. It’s been a thrill coaching his son and his friends, coach Maples said.
“Those type of guys don’t come around too often,” coach Maples said.
In the season opener for the Mississinawa Valley softball team, Welch set the school’s career strike outs record. She fanned 10 batters Tuesday, bringing her career mark to 326, which broke the previous record of 318 career strikeouts.
“That’s a big accomplishment for her,” Mississinawa Valley coach Jeff Adams said. “Hard work pays off. She definitely deserves something like that.”
The career strikeouts record adds to Welch’s accomplishments with the Blackhawks as two years ago she set the school’s single season strikeout record.
Welch is looking to play college softball and has a few options, Adams said. Her work ethic and determination make her a great player, and she also is a great leader, he said.
“She’s very important, not only as one of the best pitchers Mississinawa has seen in a while,” Adams said. “We also have a freshman pitcher, and Kylee is a good mentor for her. She’s one of our biggest leaders on the team.”