PREP SOFTBALL: Dominant Rager has Herbert Hoover in Class AA regional semifinals
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — By definition, rage is an intense feeling of passion or a fad pursued with intense enthusiasm. In the case of Herbert Hoover junior Allison Rager, she has enough of this quality on and off the mound to give the Huskies a decided advantage.
Rager has been throwing fire from the mound for the Class AA No. 1 Huskies (25-4), who wrapped up the Region 4, Section 1 championship Wednesday with a doubleheader sweep of Nicholas County. With a 12-3 record, Rager — her name pronounced with a hard ‘g’ — has struck out 113 while walking 24 opposing batters. She has given up nine earned runs this season resulting in an impressive 0.67 earned run average.
Rager hasn’t had one of the best pitching lines in the state from luck, nor is this anything new from the Hoover pitcher. A dedicated player who has already committed to Morehead State and worked consistently in the offseason, she was primed for such a season.
“I play with my West Virginia Pride travel team all summer, and once October hits I take batting practice and work on my pitching alone,” Rager said. “I anticipate coming out to have a pitching spot, but that’s not it. I want to be able to hit or play first like I do now.
“I work hard so I know I have to continue to work hard to have a big spot and contribute,” Rager said of her potential at Morehead State.
Rager committed to Morehead and credits one source for her outrageous success on the field: family.
“I am only two hours away from my family if I go to Morehead. Family is very close to me and that’s what I consider my team now,” she said before the Huskies made quick work of Nicholas County on Wednesday to set up a Region 4 semifinal May 15 at rival Sissonville.
The passion she has for the union of her team on and off the field drives not only her to desire to improve, but allows for the team so better as a whole, she said.
“We can communicate and connect by keeping in contact in off season, and on off days. But we take advantage of that by using these extra days to take batting practice together,” Rager said. “And the juniors and seniors have been together for many years. So we are a family.”
As a result of Hoover’s family feel, Rager said she thinks the Huskies are beyond prepared for taking on Sissonville in the regional semifinals. The teams split their regular-season series, with Hoover winning 6-0 in Sissonville on April 8 and the Indians getting a 13-4 win in Falling Rock on April 16.
Rager added that it’s not as simple as saying she’s ready.
“Facing someone for the second or third time is the hardest because they know what to expect and how to adjust. But the same also goes for us,” she said.
“While I have to prepare to face their hitters, we all have to focus on corrections. A lot of our success comes from us being a family, but even when we do lose it becomes easier to correct because we can communicate and work together so easily.”
Rager leads through a strong example with an unforgettable presence on the mound and at the plate. Heading into regionals Rager is hitting .537 with 10 home runs, 9 doubles, and 46 RBI along with 39 runs scored.
Her importance to Hoover’s success is almost without question. Rager’s batting average is more than 100 points higher than the next-highest on the Huskies’ roster, the .393 currently posted by freshman outfielder Kelsey Naylor.