Show-Me Collegiate League baseball

Midwest Nationals third baseman Bryant Avery throws out a batter during Show-Me Collegiate League playoff action Thursday.

Bryant Avery’s stint in the Show-Me Collegiate League ended on an upswing, thanks to him no longer having an upswing.

Avery went 3-for-4 in the Midwest Nationals’ 7-3 playoff loss to the Queen City Crush on Thursday. The Nixa grad finished his three weeks filling in for the Nets with a .292 batting average.

“Things have gone good for me this summer,” he said.

Avery’s batting stance was noticeably different than the stance he featured at the end of his senior season for the Eagles in the spring. By design, the right-handed hitting Avery stood tall Thursday while awaiting a pitch in the batter’s box and swinging.

“At the beginning of the high school season, I was staying vertical and it worked. But during the season I slowly sloped over,” Avery said. “Halfway through the season, I realized that and tried to bring myself back up.”

A student of the game, Avery noticed on video that he was sloped over upon swinging.

“Everything started dropping off when I started sloping over, rather than staying vertical,” he said. “When I’m slapped over, my swing is a lot more loopy. Even if I do make solid contact, my hands roll and the ball goes straight to the 5-6 (third base-shortstop) hole area. 

“When I’m vertical, that keeps me more level and I can drive the ball better, rather than just rolling over and hitting ground balls.” 

Avery’s time with the Nationals allowed him to get further acquainted with coach Eric Osner, who will also coach Avery at NorthArk. 

“I played for him last summer and was excited to play for him again,” Avery said. “He coaches with the exact intensity I love. That’s what I’m ready for in the fall. I’m ready to get to NorthArk and play with the amazing teammates who I’ve met.”

In addition to Avery, preps from southwest Missouri who have signed with NorthArk this year include Ozark’s Brantley Harrill and Chandler Hodges, Billings’ Peyton Gold, Kickapoo’s Easton Bentch of Kickapoo, Webb City’s Draydon Emery of Webb City and Ash Grove’s Draven Zeigler of Ash Grove.

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