Freshman Phenom

Volleyballer POY—VYPE’s legend of the fall

Seven Lakes freshman Ally Batenhorst was named the Player of the Year by VYPE. Vype

Originally appeared on Vype.com.

Take a moment. Think back to when you were 15 years old. Not sure about you all, but I can’t say I had too much on my resume at that point.

Enter Ally Batenhorst.

Seven Lakes’ superstar freshman is coming off her first year on the Spartans’ volleyball team—which went all the way to the 6A UIL State title game—and accomplished more this year than most high school athletes do in a career.

Don’t believe it? Let’s take a look.

Batenhorst led Seven Lakes in kills (537) and aces (43) and was second on the team in blocks (53) and digs (288). She was named first-team, all-district (19-6A), Academic All-District, 19-6A’s Most Valuable Attacker, The Greater Houston Volleyball Coaches Association Co-Hitter of the Year and was the only freshman in the entire state to be named to the UIL State All-Tournament team.

Not too bad for a 15-year-old.

“She’s super fun to coach,” Seven Lakes head coach Amy Cataline said. “For as talented as she is, at such a young age, she’s still willing to learn. She’s a team player and a humble leader. I’ve even seen growth in the short time that I’ve had to coach her. She carried the team through some tough moments and got big kills for us in the clutch.”

“Ally makes my job easier,” setter Morgan Janda added. “When I think about it, after she gets those crazy kills, I’m like, she’s only a freshman. That’s insane.”

Batenhorst’s sister, Dani, is a senior on the Seven Lakes team. When she talks about her younger sister, you can feel the family pride radiating.

“She’s going to be amazing. I already know,” Dani said. “Being this good as a freshman, she’s just going to get better every year and be one of the top recruits in the country.”

Having Dani on the team was a big boost for the younger Batenhorst. Not only did it help Ally adjust to the level of play quicker, but as both sisters played the same position, the sister competition helped push each other.

“I was really excited to get started playing with my sister and everybody,” Ally said. “Dani really helped with the transition. It was really fun to be able to play with her. She was always so encouraging and helpful.”

Despite all the honors, the accolades and awards, Ally Batenhorst still has the desire to improve. Complacency has no room in her game.

“I want to get stronger,” Batenhorst said. “I’m obviously tall, so that helps me with everything, but if I can get a stronger arm swing, it’ll improve my game even more.”

If that happens, Katy ISD, Region III and the rest of Texas better watch out.

This article appeared in the December Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today! 

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After rallying in the ninth inning in Game 1 to take the pivotal opener of this best-of-three ALWC series, the Astros were in the driver's seat to try and end the series on Wednesday with another win at Target Field. Here is a quick rundown of Game 2:

Final Score: Astros 3, Twins 1.

Series: HOU Wins 2-0.

Winning Pitcher: Cristian Javier.

Losing Pitcher: Cody Stashak.

Houston gets the first hit and first run in the fourth

Through the first three innings, neither team could get a hit off of Jose Berrios or Jose Urquidy, though the Twins did load the bases in the bottom of the first on two walks and an error, but Urquidy would strand the runners before getting 1-2-3 innings in the second and third.

Meanwhile, the Astros lineup was retired in order in three perfect innings by Berrios. That changed in the top of the fourth when Houston would get back-to-back two-out walks to set up the first hit of the game, an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Dusty Baker makes another early call to the bullpen before Twins tie it up

Urquidy was able to keep the 1-0 lead by working around a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth, the first hit for the Twins. He returned in the fifth, allowing a leadoff single before a strikeout for the first out. Dusty Baker would pull another early hook, like Greinke the day prior, dipping into his bullpen early to end Urquidy's day at just 76 pitches in the fifth. His final line: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 76 P.

Brooks Raley was who Baker called on to face the top of the Twins' lineup. He would walk his first batter, putting runners on first and second, get a strikeout for the second out, then allow an RBI-double to Nelson Cruz that almost scored a second, go-ahead run. Instead, the runner was out at home thanks to a terrific defensive play by Carlos Correa, bulleting the ball to Maldonado at home, who made a great tag to save the run and keep it tied 1-1.

Correa homers, Astros advance to ALDS

After Raley completed the fifth inning for Urquidy, Cristian Javier was the next reliever out to begin the bottom of the sixth. He would toss a 1-2-3 frame, sending the tie game to the seventh. In the top of the seventh, Carlos Correa broke the tie with a long, loud two-out solo home run to center-field, putting the Astros back in front 2-1.

Javier held on to the one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh by working around a leadoff walk, then returned for the eighth. He would get through it scoreless, despite allowing a one-out walk to Nelson Cruz, who would be pinch-ran for by the speedy Byron Buxton. After a strikeout for out number two, Javier would catch Buxton between first and second base in a rundown, getting the big final out of the inning.

Houston added insurance in the top of the ninth, getting two on base before an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, his second of the day to make it 3-1. That left things up to closer Ryan Pressly, making his first appearance of the postseason. He would notch the save, advancing the Astros to the ALDS for their fourth-straight year.

Up Next: The Astros will now have a few days off to travel to the west coast before starting their ALDS with the winner of the A's / White Sox ALWC series. Game 1 of their ALDS will be on Monday, October 5th, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, with start time TBD.

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