Collin Ussery hasn't needed a pep talk or strategy session while being penciled in the No. 9 spot in Nixa’s batting order.
All along, he’s known of the importance coaches the likes of Nixa's Logan Hughes place on the nine-hole and the impact a player in that spot can have by getting on base in front of the top of the order.
“I was happy,” Ussery said, recalling his reaction when Hughes told him that’s where he planned to hit him. "That’s where I wanted to be. I feel comfortable there.”
Ussery has replaced Wyatt Vincent in the nine-hole. Nixa is averaging 6.8 runs a game.
“Wyatt talked to me about how he saw a lot of fast balls at the bottom (of the lineup) last year,” Ussery said.
Vincent now is Nixa’s lead-off hitter.
“My main goal is to get the bat in Wyatt's hands,” Ussery said. “Any way I can get on base and flip the lineup is what I'm trying to do.”
Ussery often works anonymously. But he gained the spotlight last week by delivering a three-run double to cap Nixa’s 6-0 victory versus Ozark.
Ussery has split time at second base, as Nixa (14-3 overall and 2-1 in the COC) looks to break from a two-game losing streak today against Webb City.
Through the wins and losses, during practices and games and even away from the ball diamond, Hughes has gained quite a special appreciation for all the tangible and intangible contributions Ussery makes.
“He's one of our captains and leaders. He does whatever he needs to do to help the team,” Hughes said. “He’s also one of our top guys for community service. He's always asking for extra stuff to do and does all the little stuff that doesn't get seen by people. That's what great leaders do.”
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