Clawson High’s Alex Verner earns MAC Silver MVP

By: Jacob Herbert | Royal Oak Review | Published June 25, 2019

 Clawson High’s Alex Verner finished the season with a batting average over .600 and was named MVP in the MAC Silver  Division. Coach Jim Sparks said she was a key component of the team’s 22-9 finish.

Clawson High’s Alex Verner finished the season with a batting average over .600 and was named MVP in the MAC Silver Division. Coach Jim Sparks said she was a key component of the team’s 22-9 finish.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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CLAWSON — For Clawson High’s Alex Verner, this season was one to remember.

On top of the Trojans softball team winning at least a share of the league title for the third year in a row and making it to a Division 2 district final, Verner was able to cap her junior season off with league MVP honors in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division.

“It felt like more of getting a leadership award,” she said. “I’ve been on the team for three years now, so it just felt good to be recognized for all the hard work you put in. I was just happy overall to get it.”

Verner ended the season with a batting average north of .600. She also filled in as a pitcher when needed and secured five wins from the circle. Coach Jim Sparks said Verner was instrumental to the team’s success.

“Probably the best overall athlete in the entire league,” Sparks said. “She hit over .600 as a slap hitter even though she’s right-handed. She took the time to learn how to do that from the left side.”

As a freshman, Verner had a high strikeout average. In order to combat those struggles, she and Sparks worked on a new style of hitting known as slap hitting.

Slap hitting is an offensive technique with the purpose to hit the ball to a place in the infield that’s the furthest from the place where the out needs to be made.

Verner said she’s relatively quick and could get on base with ease, provided that the ball was properly put into play. Moving from one side of the plate to the other and completely reinventing her hitting style took Verner her entire sophomore year to perfect.

Like any new skill, she said it was uncomfortable and awkward at first, but in time she’s been able to turn it into a weapon when she steps in the batter’s box.

Aside from her hitting, Verner felt she was also able to improve in the field.

“I was able to be more confident in the field toward the end of the year,” the shortstop said. “I think that was one of the things I was more proud of. I went from making three or four errors in a game to not even making one in a game. That improvement just felt good.”

With eyes set on next season, Verner expects more of the same from the Trojans. The league and district titles are all attainable goals for Clawson as long as everyone on the team continues to improve over the course of the offseason. 

As for her own game, Verner has plenty she wants to work on.

“I definitely want to work on a few more things when it comes to slap hitting,” she said. “I want to be able to have a little more ball control with it. I also want to work on pitching more. I’ve never really been the strongest pitcher, and I think I would like to focus and maybe learn a couple more pitches.”

Call Sports Writer Jacob Herbert at (586) 498-1062. Follow Sports on Twitter @CandGSports. 

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