Jordyn Foley is combining her ever-increasing mental attributes and her naturally-gifted physical characteristics on her way to continued progress in the center circle for Ozark.
Foley led the Lady Tigers to a 9-3 start on the season that includes a victory over defending COC champion Webb City, the top two teams in the Big 8 Conference in Rogersville and McDonald County and a runner-up finish in the Ozark’s Fall Festival.
She allowed just two runs in both of Ozark’s Festival wins over Eureka and Marquette. The right-handed junior has 22 strikeouts in her last three starts.
Foley is seemingly improving with each outing. At 5-foot-10 with a sleek, athletic build and exceptionally large hands, she has all the looks of a standout hurler.
To get a good idea of the size of Foley’s hands, she and fellow junior pitcher Savannah Hughes were asked to hold their hands against each other. Foley’s hand stretched above Hughes’ knuckles.
“My hands help me a lot,” Foley said. “I can get a better grip on the ball and get a better spin on it.”
The rise ball is a new pitch for Foley. If she can gain control of it, her progress figures to jump to a whole new level.
“I’m calling it, but she’s got a long ways to go with that pitch,” coach Jimmy Nimmo said. “I’ll make her throw it, whether it’s on or not. It’s about getting ready for the post-season. So, she needs as many live reps with that pitch as she can get.
“The rise ball can take years to develop,” he added. “It’s the hardest pitch to throw. You have to have precise mechanics to get the ball to move like it should, to make it a rise ball versus a high fast ball. A lot of pitchers say they throw a rise, but it’s just a hard fast ball coming in. With the late break she is working on, it’s just a matter of some simple mechanics with her release that she is working out.”
Foley agrees her rise ball at this juncture is still a work in progress.
“I need to keep it consistent. Sometimes, it doesn’t work for me,” Foley said. “I have to make sure I get under it all the way with my first and second fingers, snap all the way and not let go too early.”
Foley was in command while shutting out McDonald County 6-0. She easily outdueled McDonald County’s Madeline McCall, a Pitt State commit.
“My rise ball was working that game,” Foley said.
“She had all of her pitches going against McDonald County,” Nimmo said. “That was the best game I’ve seen her throw.
“She’s a four-pitch pitcher,” he added. “She can work the count, mix it up and make the hitter see different speeds and locations.”