DARKE COUNTY – A pair of athletes who have excelled as pitchers and hitters this season are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
The Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Arcanum softball player Abbie Bruns and Versailles baseball player Keaton McEldowney.
After not being able to pitch last year because of an arm injury, Bruns has returned to the mound and reclaimed her spot as one of the area’s best pitchers. So far this season she has an ERA of 1.90 and has a no-hitter to her name, having no-hit Twin Valley South.
“She’s coming back from the injury and doing a great job on the mound,” Arcanum softball coach Rick Stone said.
On Thursday Bruns pitched for Arcanum in a victory against Newton. She tweaked her knee on a play at the plate, Stone said, but battled through it to finish the game.
“She’s doing a great job on the mound,” Stone said. “Had another gutsy win tonight.”
In addition to being a strong pitcher, Bruns is becoming one of the top hitters in the area. So far this season she’s second in the county with a .545 average and has eight RBIs.
“She’s pitching well, hitting the ball well and just all around having a really good year,” Stone said.
Bruns wasn’t always a great hitter, Stone said. After struggling at the plate as a freshman and sophomore, she really worked hard to improve and now she’s the Lady Trojans’ leadoff hitter.
“It’s outstanding,” Stone said. “She’s worked really hard.”
Bruns, who is committed to play softball for Lincoln Memorial University, has helped lead Arcanum to a great start to this season.
“She’s definitely one of the leaders on the team,” Stone said.
McEldowney earned the victory in Versailles’ Midwest Athletic Conference-opener against New Knoxville on Tuesday. He pitched three innings, allowing no runs on one hit, no walks and six strikeouts.
“He’s one of our top guys that we’re going to get out there and throw,” Versailles baseball coach Ryan Schlater said. “I think he has a 75 percent strike rate, which that is very, very good.”
McEldowney also led the Tigers at the plate in the win, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. In a MAC game against Parkway on Thursday McEldowney was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs, giving him six RBIs in the first two league games of the season.
For the season McEldowney is hitting .474 with 11 RBIs, which is second in the county.
“It seems like he’s getting on base every other time he gets to the plate,” Schlater said. “He’s been getting on base a lot and the guys behind him are hitting just as well.”
McEldowney bats second for undefeated Versailles this year. With having such a strong hitting team around him, it’s important that he gets on base and allows his teammates to drive him in.
“When you have a pretty good lineup through and through, when you get on base as much as Keaton does, he’s going to score a lot of runs,” Schlater said.
And being just a sophomore, McEldowney is only going to get better.
“He’s a great all-around kid,” Schlater said. “A great student. I think he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.