By Jeremy McDonald
DALLAS, Ore.– Being a utility player not just helps the team, but makes you a better athlete mentally and physically in better understanding different positions on the field.
For South Salem’s Delaney Keith, she’s most happy playing in between second and third base as a shortstop, but over the past few games with the NW Bullets 18U-Campos team, the Saxon Junior has been all over the place.
Friday evening for example, Keith played at first base for the first three or four innings of the game against the Bat Busters-Gomes 18U squad at the Lyle Sports Complex. Knowing the exposure will not help her for college one-day, but also too in-game either with her travel ball team or with South Salem.
“It helps…I’ve played every position in the infield and in the outfield, so it really helps knowing that I have different opportunities for the next level and it gives me a lot more insight on how each position plays and works to get better with everything I can,” said Keith.
Keith drew two walks and was 0-1 in the opening day of the NW Bullets Fall Invite in Dallas before bowing out of the game. The squad will have a doubleheader Saturday back at the Sports Complex, playing at 10am and noon on Field 3; and with how few and far between reps are with their strong roster, Keith knows she needs to make the most of her reps when she gets them.
“I just don’t take any reps for granted because knowing with how many players we have and how much talent that we have, I can’t take any reps off,” said Keith. “Can’t give any at-bats away. So, I go out there with a slight chip on my shoulder, knowing that I need to earn my spots.
“I go out there and try to give it my best.”
Names like Taylor Ebbs, Ellie Babbitt and Addie Fisher are just a few names along with Keith battling it out for playing time with the Bullets team this Fall. Tournaments and game action are few and far between as well, Monday’s game was just the squad’s 13th of the Fall.
And yes, games are fewer as is during the Fall compare to the Summer, it still adds to the pressure to execute and to make up for lost time with the Coronavirus Pandemic wiping out Keith’s sophomore season with the Saxons.
But yet again, it gave her an opportunity to work on the little things in the meantime in hopes for the promises of what Spring may hold for her.
“Continue to work on my swing. I’m still working out the kinks a little bit,” laughed Keith. “But keep doing that. Working on different positions, especially this team I’m playing everywhere and I need to get back to my shortstop because that’s what I’m going to be playing at South. I just need to be working on my reps and just keep working on what I’m doing.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald