SHAWNEE, Kan. — When it comes to softball in the Sunflower State, they’re the cats’ meow.
The Mill Valley Jaguars (16-1) are ranked number one in Class 6A’s Eastern Division, and one of the Jags starting pitcher is proving to be an unselfish star. That’s why FOX4 Sports and HyVee awarded them with the latest latest Team of the Week award.
She’s known for teaching young pitchers to keep the bats away from the ball. Top-ranked Mill Valley has a solid slinger in Lauren Florez, the junior pitcher who, during the weekend, threw her one-thousandth pitch of the season. Every week, Florez donates her time, giving free pitching lessons to elementary school aged ballplayers.
Lauren said the gym she uses sponsors a team for young women. Florez’s teammates know all about Lauren’s leadership and her interest in promoting women’s sports.
“I just kinda felt like I had to give back to the softball community. Everyone else has taught me everything I know too,” Florez said.
“I think there aren’t enough female role models in sports,” Mill Valley Coach Jessica DeWild said. “I think having those positive influences and seeing her do it right and seeing her succeed and go back to little kids I think that’s developing a whole new love of the game at a young level.”
“It’s so much fun. They always have a positive attitude, which, as you get older, you get frustrated more easily. They’re always willing to come in with a smile on their face and willing to get better,” Florez said.
“She’s been kind of like a glue to our team. She’s definitely the baseline of everything we do. She leads the game. She’s one of our biggest leaders. She helps us be everything we can be,” Payton Totzke, Jaguars second base, said.
Flores and her fellow Jags aren`t fooling around. Mill Valley remains one of the state’s best teams, and, through Thursday, Flores has pitched her way to nine of their 12 victories, but it`s giving the game to others than makes Flores stand out.