While the Raiders waded through an up-and-down week that saw them need rallies to get past Douglas and Reno, one player in particular is getting hot at the right time.
Senior second baseman Cori Gammon started off last week ripping two doubles, scoring three runs and driving in another in a 10-0 non-league win over Fallon to christen the Raiders’ new on-campus softball field.
Gammon finished the week, going 7-for-12 from the plate, raising her batting average to .471 on the season, second on the team behind junior Mary Dettling’s .548 batting average.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of extra time outside of practice,” she said. “When you’re younger, you always have other people to look up to and who get the job done. This year, I want to be that person. I have to leave it all out on the field.”
Gammon is leading the team with 41 hits. In 27 games, she has hit safely in 23 of them and recently had a 16-game hitting streak end last week against Manogue. She’s second in runs with 33 and has driven in 21 from her leadoff spot.
In the two weeks since spring break, Gammon has gone 12-for-24 with 11 runs scored and five RBI. She’s also found a little bit of a power stroke. All three of her doubles and her triple have come in the past two weeks, increasing her slugging percentage to .563, which is also second on the team.
“Because she can slap, she can bunt and she can obviously hit for some pop, she’s doing a great job reading defenses,” Reed softball coach Jon Wunder said. “She’s seeing where they’re playing and she’s adjusting. I wish I could take credit for some of the bunts she’s dropped this year. As a senior, she has the ability to read it and do what she thinks she can do.”
Gammon split time as the starting second baseman for the Blue and Gold her freshman season when Reed won the Northern 4A championship and reached the state championship. Since then, she’s been a full-time starter.
“I’ve had a blast. We’ve had our ups and downs,” she said. “My first year is hard to match (going to state). This year has been close, so hopefully it ends the same way. It’s more fun having an impact this year. My freshman year I didn’t really play, so I was kind of just watching.”
Gammon has come into her own over the years. Last year, Gammon only hit .273 en route to earning second team all-league honors. She needed 45 fewer at-bats this season to surpass last year’s totals in hits, runs and RBI. Her defense has also improved.
“I don’t think anything has changed. It’s just experience. The past couple years, she’s either been in the leadoff spot or the No. 2 spot. She plays a lot of travel ball over the summer,” Wunder said. “I think having committed to her college already, it’s taken a lot of pressure off of her. I think she realizes it’s her senior year and she’s trying to just have fun. She’s got a great supporting cast around her. She recognizes she doesn’t have to do everything herself. We’re certainly going to miss her next year in that leadoff spot. It’s great having some experience.
“She had some errors last year. This year, she’s had a couple, but she’s cut them way back. I think that’s just her playing a lot more confident with all the experience under her belt.”
Gammon’s improved skills helped her earn an opportunity to continue her playing days in college. In November, Gammon signed a letter-of-intent to play for the University of Montana-Billings next year where she will study business.
Now, her focus is to help the Raiders rebound from last week. Reed has its final three league games this week and playoffs start next week.
“I’m happy it happened last week rather than later. I believe we’re pretty strong. We know what we need to do. We’ll overcome it.” Gammon said. “We just want to play to the best of our ability, and honestly that should be to win regionals. Anything less will be a disappointment.”
Gammon is one of three seniors, along with Makaela Moore and Shivaun Landeros, who were part of the 2009 regional champion squad that battled back to the state final after losing its first game of the state tourney. Wunder expects that experience to help come postseason time.
“We’re going to look to all our seniors who have been to the playoffs to lead the group as far as the preparation and keeping them loose and keeping the chemistry good,” Wunder said. “She’s definitely one of the leaders there. There are three of them who made it to state that year. If we’re fortunate enough to make it to state, we’re not looking past regionals, that experience will pay it forward as well. That’s going to be some good leadership to lean on there.”